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Area leaders, law enforcers gather to address gun violence

Alexis Manore
Staff writer
email / twitter
Posted 11/29/22

Local politicians and members of law enforcement gathered on Monday, Nov. 28, to speak about tactics and resources to help address gun violence occurring in the area and across the state. 

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Area leaders, law enforcers gather to address gun violence


UTICA — Local politicians and members of law enforcement gathered on Monday, Nov. 28, to speak about tactics and resources to help address gun violence occurring in the area and across the state. 

State Sen. Joe Griffo, R-47, Rome; Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, D-119, Marcy; Rome Mayor Jacqueline Izzo; Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri; Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr.; Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol; Steven A. Nigrelli, acting superintendent for the New York State Police; representatives from the Utica and Rome police departments; state Division of Criminal Justice Services representatives; New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services representatives, and more were in attendance. 

Members of the media were not allowed in the meeting because topics of discussion included methods and techniques used to handle gun violence, which potential shooters could use to their advantage if they were shared publicly.    

“Sitting down with the local officials, both the elected and law enforcement here in Utica, the same conversations are being had across the state,” Nigrelli said. “The same problems are affecting Utica, as Long Island, the Adirondacks and Buffalo. And it’s guns. The amount of illegal guns in our society, it’s problematic. And it’s causing quality of life issues here in Utica. We’re working together to eradicate those guns from our society.” 

This meeting came after two mass shootings took place last week, one at a LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado, and another at a Walmart in Virginia. 

In Utica, a shooting that occurred Nov. 12 left a man permanently paralyzed. On Nov. 20, a man shot and killed another man on Utica’s west side, which was the second homicide in Utica this year. Two weeks ago, a man was arrested after threatening to shoot Oneida County employees and to blow up the county building because of his dissatisfaction with the services that the county offered.   

Griffo said that the conversation expanded from gun violence to other issues that the county is facing, like illegal cannabis use. 

While it is legal for those over 21 to possess and smoke pot in New York, they are only allowed to smoke wherever tobacco smoking is permitted, with some exceptions. Griffo said that there have been instances where people have been smoking or vaping pot in places they should not be, like in stores.  

“There’s just so many things that are facing this community as a whole, and the region, so collectively, with the mayors, the police chief, the sheriff, I think we had a very good conversation,” Griffo said. “We identified what policies should be looked at again, what structures can be revised to make it easier for recruitment and retention, and then finally what other additional resources we can take advantage of.” 

Buttenschon spoke about services and initiatives that will help groups in the community, like youths and refugees.  

“This was an introduction to provide the importance of what the state agencies have to offer to our law enforcement throughout the area,” Buttenschon said. We have been working for well over a year on a youth advocacy program, bringing in the Office of Children and Family Services at the state level here. We will continue with that effort next week, and include not only the Department of Criminal Justice Services, but civil service to look at the importance of collaboration at the state level and what those resources are, and how they can be used by law enforcement in our area.” 

Nigrelli, like Griffo and Buttenschon, emphasized the importance of collaboration between state and local law enforcement. 

“The most important thing from the state police’s perspective is working together,” he said. “We have a ton of resources that are available, and the county, Rome and Utica use those resources all the time. … Truly, it takes all of us, working together to make sure we eradicate these problems. The last thing we want is for people to be captives in their own homes. They can’t leave their home, they can’t walk down the street because of crime. We must work together to make sure these people have safe communities.”


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