DATE/TIME: Thursday, April 24th, 2008 / 08:00 AM
SUBJECT:Mayor’s and Commissioner’s Response to Recent Gun Violence

In response to the escalating gun related violence in the city, Mayor Brian U. Stratton and Public Safety Commissioner Wayne E. Bennett today release the following information:

At the direction of Mayor Stratton, Commissioner Bennett has conducted lengthy strategy meetings with the leadership of the Police Department to identify ways to more effectively address the issue. As a result of those discussions, the Commissioner has contacted Major William Sprague, Troop Commander of Troop G State Police, and requested additional personnel to supplement the existing department strength to combat this violence. Major Sprague readily agreed to provide this assistance beginning today. Additionally, existing detective, traffic and patrol personnel have been redeployed starting today, implementing a more focused and proactive approach in areas designated as a result of a comprehensive analysis of confirmed as well as unconfirmed reports of firearms discharges in the city for the past three months. Designated patrols will specifically be dedicated to identification and apprehension of individuals engaged in, or suspected of being engaged in, the illegal use of firearms. Non-essential personnel will be reassigned to patrol duty where possible consistent with other duties and overtime will be incurred to increase patrol coverages. No further specifics will be released so as not to compromise the initiative. However, a variety of techniques will be utilized.

The department will continue to work extensively with other law enforcement partners such as the Division of Parole, Probation, and Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to further address the gun violence issue.

Mayor Stratton and Commissioner Bennett ask the citizens of the city to assist in this endeavor by immediately reporting any activity they feel may involve illegal firearms immediately to the 911 emergency center including descriptions of potential criminals, license plate numbers, vehicle descriptions and direction of travel. The assistance of witnesses, problematic in the past, must be reinforced as failure to provide information greatly reduces solvability of cases and increases the likelihood that the individuals involved will continue to spread violence.