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Niagara County receives $700K for high-tech policing

National Public Radio

Law enforcement in Niagara County is getting nearly $700,000 to fight violent crime.

The money comes from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services for the Gun Involved Violence Elimination (GIVE) program. The funds will be shared by the Niagara Falls Police Department, Niagara County Sheriff's Department, Niagara County District Attorney and Niagara County Probation Department.

It is part of more than $13 million for targeted efforts against violence statewide. At the heart of the grants is high-tech policing, analysis and intelligence work using computers. Falls Police Superintendent Bryan DalPorto said it is using technology for quick response to crime.
"It's all data-driven policing, as we like to call it. We're a data-driven police department," said DalPorto. "So it allows us to set our manpower and our resources appropriately to the high crime areas and those targets always move around. So, if we're looking at our hot spots, if we're looking at an area that has flared up with a certain type of crime, we can allocate our resources and quick identification of that is crucial to manpower and better uses of our resources."

DalPorto said, in the last three-years, his department has hired 50 police officers with undergraduate and graduate college degrees as well as considerable computer knowledge and skills, who can work easily with the minute-by-minute data produced by analysts and field intelligence officers easily.

He said today's information about crimes and where those crimes are occurring are a far cry from the clipboards and notebooks when he was patrolling two decades ago. He said it also makes for better prosecution by the DA's office because the data is there to show why searches and sweeps against crime are made.

"It helps us to let juries know why police are in a certain area, what they're doing, and it also helps us with just nuisance crimes apart from violent crime and major crime, these nuisance residences where we're constantly at for  minor level crimes," he said. "We're able to take action through the city's nuisance ordinance because we can affirmatively track the amount of calls for service in a certain location or a certain residence."

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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