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Public Safety

Download the City of Rochester Public Safety Strategies Booklet

Safety is among the most basic human needs. We must be safe – and feel safe – before we can begin to pursue bigger goals. Everyone in the Rochester deserves to dream big, and to have their hopes fulfilled.

This is why public safety is a top priority of the mayor's administration – from ensuring we have a strong team of first responders ready to literally save lives, to connecting people with information and resources to prevent bad things from happening in the first place.

Public safety is more than just responding to violent acts. But like cities around the globe, Rochester is experiencing a spike in crime that cannot be ignored. By implementing a three-part strategy of prevention, intervention and suppression, we are making a difference.

We are also focused on other important priorities: economic empowerment, equity, strong neighborhoods, and developing our youth. Because each of these priorities also impacts public safety, by fueling hope for a prosperous future.

Despite all the initiatives and efforts outlined in this document, the solution to public safety does not sit at City Hall. It requires our community to take an all-hands-on-deck approach. Watch out for your neighbors. If you see something, say something. Show pride in your neighborhood. Working together, Rochester will thrive.


Emergency Communications Department

Open 24 hours per day

Rochester Fire Department

Graphic for the Rochester Fire Department.

The Rochester Fire Department does more than respond to building and vehicle fires. The more than 450 uniformed and non-uniformed members of the Rochester Fire Department work with its 13 engines, 6 trucks, and heavy rescue equipment from 15 neighborhood fire stations to protect life and property through fire suppression, emergency medical services, hazardous material management, technical rescue, fire prevention, disaster preparedness, public education, and community risk reduction. 

Firefighters also work in the community to prevent these incidents from occurring in the first place though its education, inspection, community emergency response teams (CERT) and community risk reduction (CRR) programs.

Fire Response 

The RFD responds to more than 33,000 emergency calls per year from 15 firehouses strategically located throughout the city. The RFD’s standing army of firefighters are ready to respond to any emergency in the City in less than 5 minutes. 

Arson Task Force

The Arson Task Force is a collaborative team consisting of representatives from RFD, RPD and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The team conducts follow-up investigations and lodges criminal charges against individuals that intentionally set fires.

Risk Reduction & Fire Prevention

The Fire Safety Division completes building inspections throughout the city, conducts inspections and provides fire safety details for special events, performs reviews of building permit applications and plans for NYS Fire Code Compliance, ensuring that places of public assembly are compliant with State Fire Code.

The RFD’s Community Risk Reduction team provides fire and injury prevention education to the community, with a special emphasis on at-risk populations such as youth and the elderly.

Medical Emergency Response

More than half of the incidents the RFD responds to are Emergency Medical Service calls. Each fire company is staffed with at least one EMT at all times. Since the RFD often arrives at emergency scenes before other responders, RFD EMTs provide life-sustaining and life-saving medical care until an ambulance arrives.


The RFD provides the community with 10 specialty teams/companies: the Confined Space Unit, Trench Rescue Team, Structural Collapse Unit, Foam Unit, Hazardous Materials Unit, Off-Road Rescue Unit, Rope Rescue Unit, Ice & Swift Water Rescue Team, Vehicle Extrication Team, and the Incident Support Team. Each specialty team is prepared with appropriate equipment and extensive training to aptly manage incidents requiring specialized know-how and tools.

Hazardous Materials

The RFD’s Hazardous Materials Unit responds to all dangerous spills, leaks and accidents involving dangerous materials. These include all materials that are combustible, flammable, radioactive, corrosive, poisonous, or toxic.

Rochester Police Department

Graphic for the Rochester Police Department.

The members of the Rochester Police Department are committed to its mission to reduce crime, protect and serve the citizens of Rochester, and uphold the constitution of the United States and the constitution of the State of New York. Under Police Chief David Smith, the RPD works to perform their duties with the highest level of PRIDE: Professionalism, Respect, Integrity, Dedication, and Excellence.

The RPD operates under a neighborhood-based, five-section patrol model with police officers assigned to patrol beats to effectively engage in true community policing: Central Section – Downtown and adjacent downtown neighborhoods; Clinton Section – Northeast Rochester; Genesee Section – Southwest Rochester; Goodman Section – Southeast Rochester; and Lake Section – Northwest Rochester.

Operations Bureau

The Operations Bureau is responsible for providing direct police services to the public, including protecting life, property and the constitutional guarantees of all people, reducing opportunities for the commission of crime, and the identification and apprehension of criminal offenders, and is comprised of three divisions: Patrol, Special Events, and Special Operations.

The Patrol Division is responsible for providing general police services throughout the City, including vehicle, bicycle, and directed patrols.

The Special Events Section liaisons with the City’s Bureau of Communications and Special Events and is responsible for coordinating, supervising, managing traffic, and crowd control at various special events held in Rochester each year, including parades, festivals, marathons and walks, sporting events, and concerts.

Special Operations Division

The Special Operations Division (SOD) is comprised of the Special Investigations Section (SIS), Special Operations Section (SOS), Criminal Investigations Section (CIS), all specialized teams, the Crime Research Unit, and the Community Affairs Bureau.

The Special Investigations Section (SIS) consists of Narcotics, Intelligence, Firearms Suppression and Surveillance, Electronic Support, Violent Crime and the Greater Rochester Area Narcotics Enforcement Team (GRANET). SIS is responsible for the suppression of illegal narcotics trafficking, organized crime, illegal gambling, organized prostitution and pornography and the illegal sale and distribution of liquor, tobacco and firearms.

The Special Operations Section (SOS) includes the Canine, Mounted, Tactical and Traffic Enforcement units.

The Central Investigation Section (CIS) includes the Major Crimes Unit (MCU) and Investigative Support Services (ISS). The Major Crimes Unit (MCU) investigates cases of homicide, suspicious or unexplained death, undetermined or incendiary fires, bank robberies and some cases of missing persons and child abuse. Investigative Support Services (ISS) provides investigative support in license, firearms and economic crime investigations, administers polygraph and voicestress analyzer examinations, and includes Police Evidence Technicians.

Specialized Teams include the Bomb Squad, Hostage Negotiation Team, Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team, Crisis Intervention Team, Mobile Field Force, and the SCUBA Squad.

The Crime Research Unit is an active partner in the Monroe Crime Analysis Center (MCAC), and assists law enforcement agencies in Monroe County by providing analysis and intelligence services to help improve the capacity of law enforcement to more effectively prevent and reduce Part I crime in the City and County.

Community Affairs Bureau

The Community Affairs Bureau oversees the Community Policing units, which includes the Department’s Crime Prevention Officers (CPOs) assigned to City Neighborhood Service Centers (NSCs). The Community Affairs Bureau develops and implements strategies related to community engagement; meets with community, business, education, human service and civic action groups; implements new programs, procedures and policies designed to improve the community’s engagement with the RPD; develops and coordinates crime prevention programs with NSC offices; and develops and implements youth-related educational programs.

Administration Bureau

The Administration Bureau is responsible for providing the administrative support services necessary for the effective operation of the RPD. That includes serving as liaison to the City’s Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) regarding personnel matters, including employee hiring, promotions and labor relations, and overseeing the Officer Wellness Unit and Officer Assistance Program (OAP) for crisis intervention and stress counseling services for RPD members and their families.

The Administration Bureau is comprised of Police Budget, Personnel, Professional Development (including the Background Unit), Technical Services (including tech support, public access to RPD records, surveillance system cameras, and fleet vehicles), and Research and Evaluation Sections.

Emergency Communications

Graphic for Rochester's Emergency Communications Department.

Emergency and non-emergency calls for help are handled by the nearly 200 dedicated members of Rochester’s Emergency Communications Department (ECD). The ECD team handles more than a million calls for service each year, and serves as the vital link between citizens and 68 public safety agencies, including Police, Fire, and EMS.

911 Call Center 

All emergency calls are managed by the 911 Call Center, which is accredited by the NYS Sheriff’s Association and certified by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. The team serves a population of more than 740,000 as it pursues its Mission Statement: “Through our actions, we help save lives, protect property and assist the public in their time of need.”

311 Call Center  

The 311 Call Center handles all non-emergency calls, connecting people to services and making all City resources as accessible as possible. Any questions about City programs, services, and supports can be addressed by calling 311.

Addressing violence and the proliferation of illegal firearms

 “We have to attack these problems on many fronts – on the law enforcement side and also on the prevention side. We will continue to use every single legal means possible to make sure that we dismantle the effects of gun violence.”

 - Mayor Malik D. Evans

 In January 2022, the City of Rochester announced a comprehensive, three-pronged strategy to address violence in our city.




Productive days and a hope-filled future are the best deterrents to engaging in risky or violent activities. Job skills and readiness training, developmental programming, and one-on-one engagement helps provide bright opportunities and discourage violence. “People who hurt, hurt people.” Those who find themselves in a cycle of violence often require targeted intervention and focused support to consider nonviolent alternatives to disputes, discover new paths beyond gangs or drugs, and receive necessary mental health services.Law enforcement is only one-third of a holistic approach to addressing violence, but ensuring that people who perpetuate violence are held accountable for their actions is crucial to the success of any violence prevention program.

The administration recognizes the necessity to connect human services with violence reduction efforts to resolve the root causes of city violence, and to work across City departments (led by the City’s Office of Violence Prevention, Department of Recreation and Human Services, and Rochester Police Department) and with community partners to tackle this challenge from every angle.  

Get involved

There’s No “Public Safety” Without the “Public” – to accomplish our goals, the entire community must be all in. Community members can learn more about how to productively participate in Rochester’s Public Safety efforts:

 Get Involved — Violence Prevention 



Rochester Peace Collective 

The Peace Collective is a collaborative effort that engages 20 community organizations and drives investments from local funders into innovative and proven programs that work to prevent violent crimes. The City of Rochester provided $5 million to the initiative from ARPA funding in 2022.

Pathways to Peace

Pathways to Peace team members establish relationships and build genuine rapport with at-risk youth, discouraging violence from being considered as a current or future option for youth in all age groups. The team collaborates with community resources including schools, employers, health professionals, law enforcement agencies and other service providers to connect kids to services.

Summer Enrichment Program

The City’s Office of Violence Prevention provides exciting opportunities for young people to expand their horizons, participate in developmental programs, and stay busy with productive activities including “Operation Go” (skilled trades), “Young CEO” (music and creative expression), “Alive & Well,” (socially responsible entrepreneurial curriculum), and “A Horse’s Friend” (equine program).

Reentry Program

The City of Rochester’s Reentry Program is designed to help break the cycle of recidivism and intergenerational incarceration. The City’s Reentry Coordinator provides those who are returning to city neighborhoods from the Criminal Justice System with the critical resources and services necessary to navigate and transition from prison to a life of freedom. The team is works with other reentry agencies to prevent individuals from reoffending and re-engaging in criminal activity.

Workforce Development

The City has selected nine local human-services partners to engage more than 3,000 residents in workforce development programming. The City will invest a total of $14.5 million from the City’s allocation of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), enabling these non-profit partners to provide workforce development and entrepreneurship training across a variety of trades and small business sectors, including landscape maintenance, urban agriculture, the culinary and construction trades, health care, and cloud computing.

Summer of Opportunity Program

The Summer of Opportunity Program (SOOP) is an employment opportunities program for hundreds of city youth, ages 14-20, who are in middle school, high school, or a high school equivalency program (TASC). The program provides work readiness training and employment opportunities to youth while making a direct connection to success in school. For many youth, this is their first opportunity to gain real-world work experience.

Expanded R-Center Hours

City of Rochester R-Centers provide a wide range of programs, services and meals for young people and their families, promoting healthy living, education, creativity, self-discovery and positive relationships. Expanded hours allow for even more healthy fun at R-Center playgrounds, outdoor courts, spray parks, gyms, fitness centers, computer labs, game rooms, performance spaces, and community meeting spaces.

ROC Kids Grow

In an enormous collaborative effort this Spring, 100 reusable fabric grow bags with soil, seeds and all the tools and accessories necessary to be successful gardeners were delivered or distributed at the Rochester Public Market. The program was designed for RCSD students and families to learn and grow together, with online planting and Q & A events throughout the growing season to keep families engaged, inspired and growing successfully.


Pathways to Peace

Pathways to Peace is a 20-member, street-level team that provides support and nonviolent alternatives for youth who are resorting to violence to settle disputes or becoming involved in gangs and drugs. Pathways staff are trained in assessing a child's specific needs and connecting them with appropriate services. They are trained in gang awareness, mediation, therapeutic dispute and conflict resolution, and childhood mental health.

Office of Neighborhood Safety

The City's Office of Neighborhood Safety serves as a central hub to develop and implement a community-wide Violence Reduction Strategy and guide public and private sector investments in social programs that combats violence in the City of Rochester.

Peacemaker Fellowship

The Advance Peace – Peacemaker Fellowship program is an urban gun violence disruption strategy that works to end cyclical and retaliatory gun violence by investing in the development, health and wellbeing of young people who are at the center of the violence crisis.

RPD Gun Recovery Efforts

So far in 2022, the Rochester Police Department has recovered more than 700 illegal firearms. This focus on gun recovery efforts helps reduce the number of guns used in violent crimes.

Crisis Intervention Services

The Office of Crisis Intervention Services (CISU) is a unit of the City's Department of Recreation and Human Services. The goal of the office is to create a comprehensive, community-based response to support victims and families dealing with homicides, mental health, domestic violence, and other related crises.

Persons in Crisis Team

The Person In Crisis (PIC) Team will respond to mental health and substance abuse crises. A coordinated response to crisis calls is essential to making sure that these calls for help are handled appropriately and that those in crises are given the type of care they need.

Homicide Response Team

The Homicide Response (HRT) Team proactively addresses the traumatic impact that homicides have on grieving families by providing free services to victim(s) and their families with the goal of achieving healing through support and planning. The team provides immediate on-scene support for families and victims, support for neighbors with grief and intervention services in an effort to prevent retaliation or continued violence, and streamlines the coordination of needed services and resources (including financial assistance if eligible).

Community Support Team

The Community Support (CST) Team is a team of compassionate counselors who provide individuals affected by crisis with a variety of services including community resource and referral services, domestic violence support, short term case management services, after incident/scene response and victim assistance services including applying for burial or counseling funds (if eligible).


US Marshals Violent Fugitive Task Force

This multi-agency task force consists of members of the U.S. Marshals Service, Rochester Police Department, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and the New York State Police working together to track down those wanted for the most violent crimes in our community.

ROC Initiative

The ROC Initiative is a multi-jurisdictional task force, initially consisting of members of the RPD, United States Marshals Violent Fugitive Task Force, New York State Police, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Monroe County District Attorney’s Office and the Monroe Crime Analysis Center. This task force leveraged the unique capabilities of each agency in a coordinated effort to target violent offenders. Through this effort, we have identified top-level firearm offenders and are utilizing this multi-pronged approach to put a laser focus on them and their violent criminal behaviors. 

Public updates

In September 2022, Mayor Evans announced a city-wide Gun Violence State of Emergency. On a regular basis thereafter, the administration has conducted multiple public safety briefings sharing details on the City team’s ongoing efforts to combat violence. 

For news, announcements, developments, and updates, subscribe to our Public Safety Community Updates playlist on YouTube.