Dominick Calsolaro

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Letter to District Attorny David Soars about gun violence task force

Published on 4/14/2007

April 14, 2007

Hon. P. David Soares
Office of the District Attorney
Albany County Judicial Building
6 Lodge Street
Albany, New York 12207

Dear District Attorney Soares:

I have proposed an ordinance (Ord. No. 71.111.06) in the Common Council of the City of Albany creating a "Gun Violence Task Force." The charge to the Task Force is "to research and develop strategies to reduce gun violence". The Task Force is to consist of seven members appointed by the Council who are residents of the city. There is also a provision allowing the Council to expand the Task Force by six non-voting members who do not have to be residents of the city. I would like to propose you for appointment as one of these additional members when the time comes.

Currently, the Ordinance is in the Public Safety Committee of the Council. Committee members James Scalzo and Barbara Smith along with myself, met with Albany Police Chief James Tuffey last month to discuss the Chief's concerns about the Task Force. Following much give-and-take, it was agreed that the title of the Task Force be changed to a less negative sounding name such as "The Safe City Task Force". Also, two of the duties proposed for the Task Force in Sec. 42-76 requiring the Task Force to "Prepare a report on the number and types of gun related offenses, with as much detail as possible, in the City of Albany from the year 2000 to the present;" and "Compare the number and types of incidents to at least five other municipalities of similar size;" are currently being undertaken by Dr. Robert Worden, University at Albany, as a consultant to the Albany Police Department. The Common Council is to receive a copy of this report upon its completion.

Based on the above, I will need to amend the ordinance to change the title of the Task Force and to adjust the duties of the Task Force since Dr. Worden is in the process of finalizing his report. Before I make the amendments, I would like you to review the proposed legislation and make any suggestions you feel necessary to better guide the Task Force in its mission to find ways to reduce gun violence in Albany.

The ordinance does not commit any funds to the Task Force. I would like to request a grant from the District Attorney's Office to help cover the expenses incurred by the Task Force during the course of its investigations. As this Task Force has a specific mission relating to gun violence issues, perhaps Project Safe Neighborhoods or Project Impact grant monies could be used to help fund the Task Force.

Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.

Sincerely,



Dominick Calsolaro
Common Council Member - First Ward

Enc.