Modified: March 5, 2018 1:03pm
Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn and Kevin Hoffman, Chairman of Crime Stoppers Buffalo, announced rewards up to $2,500 for information leading to the arrest and/or indictment of opiate dealers.
DA Flynn contributed $20,000 in asset forfeiture money to Crime Stoppers Buffalo to launch the initiative and to help fight the opioid epidemic in Western New York. Crime Stoppers Buffalo has committed an additional $25,000.
Today, DA Flynn was joined by US Attorney James P. Kennedy, City of Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown, Commissioner Byron C. Lockwood of the Buffalo Police Department, Deputy Robert Galbraith of the Erie County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit, Trooper James O’Callaghan of New York State Police, Amherst Police Chief John Askey, Erie County Legislator Ed Rath, Erie County Legislator Tom Loughran, Jessica Pirro, CEO of Crisis Services, Robyn Wiktowski-Reynolds, Clinical Operations Officer at Crisis Services and Jessica LaFalce of Senator Tim Kennedy’s Office.
Tipsters are asked to call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line (716.867.6161) with information on opiate dealers. Callers can remain anonymous. If information leads to an arrest and/or indictment, the tipster will receive a cash amount up to $2,500. The Crime Stoppers Board of Directors will decide the amount of cash awarded depending on the severity of the crime.
“In order to stop people from using these addictive opiates, we need to get the drugs and the people who sell them off of the street. We hope that anyone with information on any drug dealer will be inclined to call,” said Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn.
“On behalf of the federal government, my message to those who illegally prescribe, sell, or distribute opioids is simple—we will find you and we will lock you up,” said United States Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. “My message to the citizens of Western New York is that neither drug users, nor their families, nor their friends are powerless against this poison. The time for silent suffering is over. Each of us has a voice, and the time has come for us to use our voices to help to save lives. Make your voices heard. Call Crime Stoppers today.”
“As is the case with fighting all types of crime, information from the public is critically important. The establishment of this fund to provide an extra incentive for information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of opiate dealers, will be a great tool in battling the opioid crisis in Buffalo and Erie County,” Mayor Byron W. Brown said.
"Stronger punishments and restricting the flow of illegal substances in our communities are important elements of the State Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction's fight against this deadly epidemic," said State Senator and Task Force Co-Chair Chris Jacobs. "Success in eliminating this public health crisis will take all of our resources and commitment - government, law enforcement and service providers - and I applaud the District Attorney and Crime Stoppers for their launch of this reward program."
"The opioid epidemic continues to be a national crisis, devastating families across the country. We need to do everything we can to curb the spread of these toxic substances, and that starts with eliminating access to them in the first place,” said Senator Tim Kennedy. "I applaud District Attorney Flynn for partnering with Crime Stoppers on this important initiative, and working as one to remove these deadly drugs from our neighborhoods.”
"Going after the criminals who supply these deadly drugs is an important step in fighting the opioid epidemic from a preventative approach," said Legislator Ed Rath. "I'd like to thank Crime Stoppers and DA Flynn for launching this initiative to create a safer community."
“We are suffering from an epidemic. We need to approach it from a preventative standpoint that includes both law enforcement and treatment for those suffering from addiction,” said Legislator Tom Loughran.
“The opioid crisis is taking a devastating toll on Erie County’s families,” said Erie County Legislature Chair Peter Savage. “In order to successfully combat this scourge, all levels of government are going to have to cooperate on innovative solutions. I applaud District Attorney Flynn for taking the initiative to enlist the public in this fight. “
“My Office, as well as other law enforcement agencies, have successfully utilized Crime Stoppers to help spread the word about wanted criminals for years,” explained Sheriff Tim Howard. “Now this tremendous initiative can help my Narcotics Unit investigate and arrest drug dealers in Erie County. We look forward to this using this new police tool.”
Crime Stoppers is partnering with Crisis Services to assist any person suffering from an addiction. Crisis Services manages the 24 Hour Addiction Hotline for Erie County, which provides immediate information and assistance in connecting people with addiction treatment services. The line is monitored 24/7 by counselors that can provide support and guidance for those struggling addiction by calling 716.831.7007.
"Addressing this epidemic requires a multi-prong approach and this partnership will help individuals calling Crime Stoppers regarding a tip to also be connected with needed support or resources,” said Crisis Services CEO Jessica Pirro. “We are glad to be collaborating with the Crime Stoppers staff in how to identify callers that may be benefit from connecting to our 24-Hour Addictions Hotline while also offering the Crime Stoppers number to those who may find some relief in taking such an action step."