Westchester County Launches Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce

Westchester County Executive George Latimer and Westchester County Legislator Shanae Williams are joining together to announce the Westchester County Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce (WCGVPT).  The taskforce, which will fall under the Office of the County Executive, will be aimed at unifying efforts across Westchester County to combat gun violence.

Latimer said: “Gun violence is not a major problem in Westchester County, but one death or injury due to gun violence is one too many and we are focused on getting to the root of the problem.  The WCGVPT will serve as a critical platform to address the root causes of gun violence while advocating for effective prevention strategies.”

Williams said: “Yonkers is a relatively safe city for its size, but gun violence is still an issue. A few years ago, there was a shooting in front of my building at Getty Square. This incident made me consider ways to address the problem holistically in my community. I am thrilled to partner with County Executive George Latimer and his team in this effort and look forward to working with stakeholders to identify solutions that will eliminate gun violence.”

County Legislator Terry Clements said: “I approach the issue of gun violence prevention from two perspectives — as Chair of the Board’s Committee on Public Safety, and as an educator committed to the safety of Westchester’s students. The Westchester County Department of Public Safety, expertly run by Acting Commissioner Terrance Raynor, utilizes Community Resource Officers (CROs) and School Resource Officers (SROs) to ensure safety in our schools and community. Establishing a Gun Violence Safety Task Force will expand on the good work we have already been doing, and will be an important next step towards preventing gun violence on our streets, and in our homes and schools.”

County Legislator James Nolan said: “As someone who lost their brother to illegal gun violence, I know what its impact on a family and a community looks like. I appreciate how proactive the County Executive is being by creating this task force. In 2021, the United States experienced record gun violence. It is high time for all of us to come together and find a solution to this issue. I look forward to doing anything I can to help make the task force successful.”

The WCGVPT will work with organizations that are currently making strides in rooting out gun violence and foster collaboration across these agencies leveraging each other’s resources.  The task force aims to identify and implement best practices to prevent and ultimately eliminate gun violence from Westchester County.

Latimer said: “The safety and well-being of every resident in Westchester is our top priority. Through the establishment of the Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce, we are taking proactive steps to address this critical issue head-on. By bringing together diverse voices and expertise, we will develop comprehensive strategies to create safer communities for all.”

The goals of the WCGVPT:

· Change the social conditions and address the influences that lead young people to resort to gun violence.

· Foster collaboration across all agencies and levels of government, including county, town, village, city and law enforcement agencies.

· Facilitate collaboration between nonprofit and for-profit businesses already engaged in this work.

· Engage the community in meaningful dialogue, including victims and perpetrators of gun violence.

· Develop prevention and intervention strategies tailored to eliminate gun violence.

· Advocate for the necessary resources to support these efforts.

The task force will consist of volunteers representing various backgrounds. For more information on the Westchester County Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce, contact Deputy Director of Operations Emily Saltzman or (914) 995-2912.