Modified: March 22, 2016 2:16pm
Acting Erie County District Attorney Michael J. Flaherty, Jr. today was joined by leading members of Erie County in a community forum to announce a brand new community outreach initiative of the Office of the Erie County District Attorney (ECDA). This new initiative will work towards fostering stronger community relations between law enforcement and the residents of Erie County.
"Creating partnerships between the office of the Erie County DA and the community is a necessary part of the work we do, and critical to rebuilding public trust, restoring neighborhoods and fighting crime,” said Acting Erie County District Attorney Michael J. Flaherty, Jr. “I’d like to thank our colleagues in government and members of the community for their openness in helping us to establish greater relationships. I look forward to the community’s assistance in informing our work, and to building stronger connections to the people we serve.”
As part of the new community outreach initiative, experienced Assistant District Attorneys will regularly interact with residents of the City of Buffalo and its surrounding suburbs and cities by establishing a presence at block club meetings, attending senior center and community center meetings, neighborhood association meetings, and police sponsored events, among other related activities.
"I believe that communication is the key making this all work; communication with those who can make a change. This will reduce fear and foster a better relationship," stated Masten District Councilmember Ulysees O. Wingo, Jr.
The goal of having a prosecutor present at these public meetings and events is to increase communication between law enforcement and the general public. A prosecutor can explain the court process and helps to reduce the stress and fear by the victim or witness. “Our advocacy unit is such an essential part of taking the fear out of going to court. My office has an amazing team of social workers, advocates, bilingual advocates, and caseworkers available to assist all victims of crime,” praised Flaherty.
ECDA office representatives will seek to educate the public on the work of the office, particularly is newly established Narcotics Bureau and Public Integrity Unit, Elder Abuse Unit, Animal Cruelty Unit, and other topics of interest to the community.