The Erie County Legislature unanimously approved a request from the Sheriff’s Office to allocate asset forfeiture funds to purchase equipment and attend training that will help deputies prepare and respond in the event of an active shooting. At the March 7 session, the Legislature approved the transfer of $340,800 to fund several equipment purchases and training sessions.
A portion of the funds will be used to purchase specialized police tools and supplies for the Special Weapons and Tactics team (SWAT). The Sheriff’s Office also identified a need to equip their patrol cars with bolt cutters and sledgehammers that could be critical for deputies facing bolted, chained or padlocked doors when responding to an emergency. Outfitted with such equipment would allow deputies to gain access without unnecessary delay.
“This equipment gives deputies the tools needed to carry out their job. When reacting to a critical incident or emergency, our deputies and detectives need to be prepared to respond to whatever they may encounter. The asset forfeiture funds have been an enormous benefit to the county and I am pleased the Legislature approved the transfer, supporting this much needed funding proposal to support the Sheriff’s Office,” said Legislator Joseph Lorigo.
Undersheriff Mark Wipperman explained to Legislators that the request to purchase certain equipment was in direct response to some of the issues law enforcement learned after the Sandy Hook and other “active shooter” tragedies our country has recently dealt with.
In addition, a portion of the funds will be used for training. By mid-April, almost every member of the Sheriff’s Office patrol services division will have completed the latest active shooting training, making the Sheriff’s Office one of the only agencies in Western New York to do so. The “active shooter” training places deputies in real time scenarios, teaching and preparing them to handle these situations if they occur in Erie County.
The Sheriff’s Office also identified purchases needed for the Investigative Services Bureau and their Crime Scene Investigators. Equipment will be purchased to ensure these divisions have all the necessary tools and resources to adequately investigate and process crime scenes throughout Erie County.
Asset forfeiture funds are financial assets recovered after the arrest and prosecution of criminals, such as drug money or the proceeds from auctioning off vehicles and other items confiscated during a criminal or narcotics investigation. With the approval of the legislature, these funds are reinvested to fight crime and equip law enforcement officers without burdening the taxpayer.
“In the district I represent, the Sheriff’s Office plays a pivotal role in patrolling and protecting the community. The deputies also provide assistance to agencies throughout Erie County and neighboring counties during times of need, this equipment and training will benefit our entire region,” said Legislator Lorigo.
For additional information, please contact Legislator Lorigo’s office at 858-8922 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.