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Press Release

Buffalo Police Department Receives DOJ Grant To Implement A Shooting Review Process Targeting Unsolved Shootings And Improving Clearance Rates

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr., Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood, and Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announced today that the Department of Justice has awarded the Buffalo Police Department a 2020 Project Safe Neighborhood grant totaling $229,837. The funding will be used to implement a Shoot Review Process in the police department.

The Shoot Review Process is designed to address unsolved gun assaults and increase clearance rates in the City of Buffalo through the development of a case review process. By reviewing shootings in the city on a regular basis, the goal is to remove active shooters from the streets, strengthen the administration of justice, increase public safety in urban neighborhoods, and increase community confidence in the police.

The Shoot Review Process team is headed by Buffalo Deputy Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia, and includes the Buffalo Police Department’s Gun Violence Unit, crime analysts from the Erie Crime Analysis Center, and representatives from the District Attorney’s Office, probation, and parole, as well as the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the ATF, and the FBI.

The review process will be modeled after best practices nationally. In March 2020, Police Commissioner Lockwood, U.S. Attorney Kennedy, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn, ATF managers, and members of the various command staffs, traveled to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to meet with members of the Milwaukee Police Department, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, and others who have successfully implemented a shooting review process. After implementing the process in 2018, the City of Milwaukee saw a 17% reduction in homicides and a 15% reduction in non-fatal shootings. 

A successful shooting review process includes:

• A review of several months’ worth of previous shootings to identify trends in types of shootings, victims and suspects;
• Detailed reports on all cases, including shooting(s) date, location, victim information, and victim and suspect intelligence;
• Regular and consistent meetings to conduct shooting reviews; and 
• Development of innovative strategies to reduce violence, improve case closure and improve case prosecution.

“Simply put, violent crime is rising at a staggering rate and homicides are soaring across the country and right here in our own city, and many of these crimes involve a gun,” stated U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “Also, much of the violence is playing out in distressed and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, leaving residents to live in fear of bloodshed and fear for their own lives. This shoot review process will target the most dangerous and violent offenders in our community who are committing gun assaults and murders. This review process will remove active shooters from the streets, strengthen the administration of justice, and increase public safety in urban neighborhoods.  This program will bring increased accountability not only for the results achieved by the law enforcement agencies who have been under attack as of late but also for the criminals who are terrorizing our communities. Increased accountability across the board is a good thing—both for the law enforcement and for criminals.”

“I want to thank our many partners in this important initiative to reduce gun violence in our community,” stated Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood. “Working together we can help solve some of these senseless crimes. I look forward to working with all of the agencies and I thank the U.S. Attorney's Office for the important funding they are providing for this critical collaborative effort.”

“We have seen a spike in shootings this summer, and we are working hard every day to bring justice to the victims. When I learned about this program that has proven successful in Milwaukee, I wanted to bring it to Buffalo immediately,” said Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn. “I want to thank U.S. Attorney J.P. Kennedy for securing federal funding for this collaborative effort to end gun violence in our city. I also want to thank Captain Jeff Rinaldo and the Buffalo Police Department for inviting the District Attorney’s Office to be a part of this new initiative. I look forward to working together to uncover the perpetrators of these unsolved shootings. I hope that our efforts will also deter people from committing these senseless acts of violence in the future.”

“ATF’s highest priority is and will remain reducing violent crime and firearm-related violence,” stated ATF Special Agent-in-Charge John B. Devito. “We will be relentless in the pursuit of the criminal groups who are intent on violating federal law and those who represent the greatest threat to the safety of our communities. Through this Project Safe Neighborhood grant, strong law enforcement partnerships, and community involvement we will see a safer Buffalo.” 

“Every time a gun slides into a conversation in front of a corner store, or in a community park, its impact is devastating,” said FBI Buffalo Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Belongia. “Gun violence victims are not simply statistics. They are fathers, mothers, grandparents and neighbors. And, all too often, the victims of gun violence are innocent children. We are committed to making a difference by preventing the trauma caused by violent crime through leadership and partnership.” 

“Shoot Review is about accountability,” said Mayor Byron W. Brown. “We share our community’s sense of urgency to curb the senseless gun violence that harms the quality of life in Buffalo, and this collaborative initiative will help us further reduce and prevent gun violence in our city. This intelligence led, data driven violence reduction strategy is the latest example of our City's commitment to interagency collaboration between local and federal law enforcement agencies. I thank United States Attorney for the Western District of New York James P. Kennedy, Jr. for securing the $229,000 federal grant to support this program that will further increase the solvability of shooting cases and reduce gun violence throughout neighborhoods citywide.”

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Updated July 23, 2020

Project Safe Neighborhoods