Dominick Calsolaro

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Gun plan includes schools, outreach

ouncil members reviewing 16-point anti-violence study results

Published on 11/10/2008 by the Times Union written by DAVID FILKINS, Staff writer, Times Union

ALBANY - The Albany Gun Violence Task Force has completed its yearlong study and sent a list of recommendations for preventing youth gun violence to the Common Council and Mayor Jerry Jennings.
Among the 16 recommendations are plans to develop curricula at Albany City Schools aimed at reducing aggressive behavior, establish an outreach program that would recruit "high-risk" clients and expand gang prevention programming.

Council members received the list Friday. They said they would review the recommendations this week and could begin discussion at a caucus Wednesday at City Hall at 5:30 p.m.

"I'm very happy it's done and I think the task force did a great job," said Dominick Calsolaro, the Common Council member who first proposed its creation. "It has already been a success. People have had a place to voice their opinions and the task force has made a number of excellent contacts. Now we'll build off that success. Some things are long range and some things can be acted on quicker."

Other recommendations included a hospital-based, violence-prevention program developed by the city and Albany Medical Center, and the formulation of a coalition that would oversee implementing the recommendations.

Police Chief James Tuffey, a task force member, applauded the task force's effort but warned there may not be a quick fix to the problem.

"It was a lot of hard work by everybody and I think the recommendations are very good," Tuffey said. "But as I have said throughout the task force, we have to look at the bigger issue, which is the societal breakdown of the family. That is bigger than the task force. It's something the city, the state and the country need to address. People have a responsibility when they have children. That is the solid base we have to get back to."

As expected, the list did not include a recommendation for tracking weapons used in gun crimes in the city. Last week, task force members said tracking guns is a national issue that cannot be addressed legislatively at this time.

David Filkins can be reached at 454-5456 or by e-mail at dfilkins@timesunion.com