ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) — Last month, a white supremacist claimed the lives of ten Black people shopping at a Buffalo Tops, leaving officials at all levels eager to find better ways to identify and prevent these kinds of threats.
Launched in 2018 in Monroe County, The Rochester Threat Advisory Committee, or ROCTAC, is a local information-sharing group with law enforcement, and the program is catching the eye of state and federal leaders.
ROCTAC is comprised of 27 different agencies that come together and try to prevent targeted acts of terror and violence from happening.
With ROCTAC, community organizations — places like Kodak and Wegmans, offices dealing with mental health, the Humane Society of Greater Rochester, and others — are able to easily share information and concerns with the Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies.
For instance, should an employee makes a concerning post or lashes out at work by making a violent threat, those warning signs can be shared with police to stop an escalation before it starts, by connecting them with mental health resources.
State and federal officials like the interoperability and information sharing so much in Monroe County, that they’re looking to do something similar.
Sergeant Greg Wildman from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office says the program is behavior-based and, by its nature, preventative.
“Targeted violence — so we’re not talking about street violence,” Wildman said. “We’re talking about people who hold grievances — they’re obsessed with a grievance, they collect a grievance — and they start getting violent ideations, and they think that violence is the solution for their ability to cope. And there’s a progression they go on. This doesn’t matter if you’re talking about domestic violence, domestic terrorism, [or] school violence.”
The inspiration for ROC-TAC came from the death of Greece child Hunter Resch, who was killed by his father in 2010.
That incident, police say, likely could have been preventable had more organizations been working together.
“Hunter Resch was killed by his father and his father committed suicide,” Wildman said. “When they broke that down, every agency had done their job correctly […] and a seven-year-old boy was still murdered by his father. So the questioning was, ‘Okay, we did our jobs right — how do we do it better?’ And that was really the impetus, I think, for the Sheriff pushing this and saying, ‘Let’s break down the silos of information, let’s start working together.”