Two Erie County lawmakers are pleading with local law enforcement to help stop violent murders in Buffalo. County Legislature chairwoman Betty Jean Grant and lawmaker Tim Hogues are calling on the Buffalo Police, County Sheriff's Department and State Police to collaborate. WBFO'S Eileen Buckley says Grant is urging them to attend a summit on July 17th to discuss violence.
"People are dying on inner-city streets," said Grant. "And we don't have the police presence that we need."
Grant wants to see state police cars patrolling the streets of her district -- much like they did about five years ago -- when the city conducted a big crack down against violence.
Grant and Hogues represent Buffalo's East Side, an area that remains a hot bed for violence. Hogues describes murders happening right near his home.
"I live in the Fruit Belt area and less than a week ago I woke up to gunshots. They did a drive-by shooting on the next street over. I have three young children that wake up to hear that, and so I have a vested interest in this," said Hogues.
But Mayor Byron Brown says the city is already teaming with state police and the sheriff's department. He says "Operation Strike Force" is out each night.
"We have the New York State Police and we have the Sheriff's Department working with Buffalo Police almost every single day in Operations Strike Force. So that is happening right now," said Mayor Brown.
Brown also reminds citizens the city's crime rate is lower this year than last. But Grant called for the news conference after learning the was another fatal shooting Monday.
"I say that one is one too many," said Grant.
An organization working to address needs in the African American community is joining Grant and Hogues in urging law enforcement to join next month's summit.
Charley Fisher is president of Build of Buffalo. He noted the city was just named the 11th most dangerous in America.
"Anybody saying that Buffalo is a safe place is badly and sadly mistaken. We know it's not safe," said Fisher.
Fisher, Grant and Hogues also criticized the city's recent gun buy back program saying it is not effective in getting assault weapons off the streets.