News Release - Mayor Thomas S. Richards, Police Chief James Sheppard Announce 2013 Operation Cool Down Initiative

City of Rochester

News Release



Operation Cool Down 2013
news conference


City12 story on
Operation Cool Down 2012

(Tuesday, May 28, 2013) -- Mayor Thomas S. Richards and Police Chief James Sheppard joined John DeMott of the Thurston Road and Chili Ave Business Association, Zacariah “Zak” Ahmed of the Jefferson Avenue Business Association and Mary Coffey of the North Winton Neighborhood Association today to announce that the 2013 Operation Cool Down has begun. The Mayor and Chief discussed some of the details and enhancements of the public safety effort designed to curb violence during the summer months.

“During my State of the City Address, I said that we need to pay attention to the potential for escalating violence during the summer and we are following through on that,” said Mayor Richards. “We have a three-point plan to address violence which includes engaging neighbors and youth and targeting gangs. The RPD is doing an excellent job interacting with our youth and targeting gangs and we will be putting into place a citizen based budgeting plan.”

Mayor Richards created Operation Cool Down last year to enable the Rochester Police Department to take a more proactive role in keeping neighborhoods and citizens safe during the warm weather months.

The Mayor has provided $300,000 in additional funding to the Rochester Police Department from an anticipated surplus in the 2012-13 budget. Additional funding from the State’s Project Impact will be sought to help pay for the operation.

“We can put all the tactics, money and resources we want into this effort, but we can’t do this alone,” said Mayor Richards. “We need our citizens to remain involved and be by our side and I am asking the community to cooperate with us and to assist us as we work to reduce the use of illegal guns and violence in our community.”

“I support this community; I support the police and look forward to making my neighborhood better, everyday,” said Mr. Ahmed. “Southwest Rochester residents and businesses are eager to have the RPD reclaim our streets from a disruptive few,” said Mr. DeMott. “So many families and business operators simply want to be able to enjoy peaceful commercial corridors and neighborhoods. Chief Sheppard has our full support.”

This year’s Cool Down effort will involve the use of focused law enforcement tactics that rely on data-driven analysis of both short and long term trends. The activities will be directed towards known offenders, gangs and specific areas where increased incidences of gun violence have occurred. Cool Down details will consist of three components: place-based, people-based and community outreach initiatives.

Place-based tactics in areas of high firearms violence will include:

• The use of rolling task forces, which are comprised of four to six police cars patrolling together in addition to multiple officer bike patrols;
• Traffic safety and DWI checkpoints;
• Focused community and residential outreach in person and by telephone; and
• House party details.

People-based (individuals & groups involved in firearms violence) tactics will include:

• Gang enforcement initiative (multi-agency);
• Violent dispute intervention – prevention of retaliatory violence; and
• Operation Impact patrols.

Community engagement tactics will include:

• Police -- community meetings in all 4 quadrants;
• Increased use of hyper-reach reverse 911 system;
• Community appeals to assist with guns and dispute intervention;
• Promoting the use of 428-GUNS for tips;
• Planning a gun buyback; and
• Crimestoppers assistance.

“I think I speak for the community when I say enough is enough,” said Chief Sheppard. “We are going to step up our efforts to crack down on illegal guns and violence. We are not going to let our residents live in fear, nor will we let unruly gangs dictate where our citizens can go and what they can do to enjoy the amenities of our city.”

Mayor Richards noted the Rochester Police Department’s recent arrests of gang members from the Chili Avenue and Thurston Road area and while he could not provide specific details, announced that similar arrests were forthcoming.

“Many of these gang members are children who are making bad decisions with guns,” continued Mayor Richards. “We need to protect them from themselves and we will do it by following the Constitution and by using tough policing tactics.”


News Media: For more information contact Police Chief James Sheppard at 428-7033.