TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The City of Troy, headed by City Council President Carmella Mantello, penned a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul Saturday calling for a multi-jurisdictional task force to address gun violence in the Capital Region. Over the past two years, the Council President has reportedly proposed a more enhanced coordination and information-sharing effort between state and local law enforcement agenciesto the prior governor.
“We are offering an opportunity to work together. The choice is really hers,” says councilman Jim Gulli, “I see she is trying to make a lot of different reforms in the state but let’s talk about the biggest problem we have which is crime all over the state.”
With two teens shot and killed in Troy this year alone, city leaders are searching for solutions to mitigate the spread of gun violence, especially among young adults. The plan is to model a task force around the state’s former “Operation Impact”. Which provided dozens of law enforcement agencies with collaborative, data-driven information to address crime. But, council president Carmella Mantello and councilman Jim Gulli admit, stopping gun violence is not a one stop solution.
“Think about it: if we have a more enhanced and targeted gun violence unit, more youth programs, get our kids off the street. That, like Jim said, is not going to solve the problem but it is a piece of the pie,” says Mantello.
Councilman Gulli agrees that more youth programs are needed to get kids off the streets, saying the city is calling for more funding from the state for youth and mentoring services. “We need to do better at providing programs at an earlier stage of life for these young kids,” Gulli says, “so they can have a better sense of opportunity than becoming a gang member or selling drugs on our streets.”
Over a two year span, Mantello says she has repeatedly called for more coordination and information sharing between state and local law enforcement. She hopes this time the call will be heard.
In light of the two youth homicides in the past two months in Troy, Capital Region local officials are calling on Governor Hochul to implement a better coordinated and enhanced task force made up of municipal police agencies, the three County Sheriff Departments (Rensselaer, Albany, and Schenectady), and the New York State Police, to tackle increased gun and gang violence in the region. This proposal is comparable to the former State “Operation Impact initiative”. Additionally, the City of Troy is requesting immediate funding from the state targeted for youth and mentoring services, School Resource Officers, and other initiatives.
“Covid-19 has brought an unprecedented time of gun violence in the Capital Region,” said Mantello. “This will continue cycling throughout our region unless we all proactively work together and tackle it now.”
Recently, the Governor extended an Executive Order declaring gun violence a state of emergency. She stated, “We must urgently confront the plague of gun violence in our state. Too many lives are being lost, and too many New Yorkers are living in fear. This is a crisis.”
The City of Troy believes it is time for Governor Hochul to provide resources, tools, and most importantly partnership to end gun violence in the Capital Region. City officials hope the Governor will strongly consider their proposals.