Local leaders meet about violence & witness protection

Posted at 6:13 PM, Sep 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-19 18:13:20-04

Members of the Buffalo Police Department, local leaders, the District Attorney and members of the Clergy met in Buffalo Wednesday in a continuing effort to fight crime.

"We are standing strong to fight crime in our community, and we're going to pull out all the stops to do that," said U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. 

More than a dozen local leaders are working together to make sure the violent summer that was 2018 isn't repeated.

One of the topics discussed during a closed door meeting was the culture of silence in the City, when witnesses and those with critical information about a crime are too scared to come forward to police.

"When people witness a crime, there is no longer a reason for not coming forward with the information they have," said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.

That's because the District Attorney's Office is tapping into state money for a witness protection program, to keep those who feel at risk for sharing information safe.

The money for this program is limited. There is about $300,000 state-wide that needs to be shared among counties. That's why members of the Clergy have agreed to raise other money to supplement this important initiative.

"If it keeps the individual safe, if it gives someone piece of mind that they're safe and they're willing to come forward, then it's done the job," said District Attorney John Flynn.

Clergy members say they are starting to raise money for witness protection right away.