ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. — For the last four months, counties have been working to form a network of task forces to identify potential threats.
Now Erie County is taking steps in that process by creating a Domestic Extremism and Violence task force to identify these potential threats and stop them before they happen.
Back in July, the Erie County Sheriff’s Office took the first step in this process by launching the Behavioral Threat Assessment Team. The new task force will work with that one as well as other task forces from counties around the state.
“If we find something or someone here that's a risk potentially for Rochester, then we will contact the Rochester Police Department,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said.
“We will contact the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. We will contact the emergency services division in Monroe County, so they understand that we've identified an individual who potentially could be at risk.”
While the county believes creating these task forces are a step in the right direction, a recent attempt fell through when former governor Andrew Cuomo launched a Domestic Terrorism Task force in 2020 that was supposed to meet every three months but failed to even meet once.
Poloncarz says that won’t be the case this time now that all the counties are working together and have the proper measures in place
“I would be foolish to say that any potential mass shooting is going to be prevented in the future,“ he said. “But if you prevent just one, that’s saving lives, and that's important.”
The county is planning to have this task force up and running by the start of next year.