Press Release

Gillibrand Urges Feds to Support SUNY-ESF – Syracuse Police Effort to Fight Gun Violence

May 30, 2012

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today urged the U.S. Department of Justice to fully fund SUNY-ESF and the Syracuse Police Department’s joint request for federal funding to invest in the research and development of forensic technology to be developed by SUNY-ESF and used by law enforcement officials in the Greater Syracuse Area. 

Senator Gillibrand pressed the Justice Department to support this effort to strengthen investigations into gun violence in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. 

“Gun violence cuts too many lives short and robs us of too many of our loved ones,” Senator Gillibrand said. “When we invest in this strong partnership between SUNY-ESF and the Syracuse Police Department, we can harness the power of our own research and innovation to equip local law enforcement with the resources and technology they need to fight the scourge of gun violence, crack down on violent offenders, and keep our streets safe to protect our children and families.”

Dr. Cornelius B. Murphy, President, SUNY-ESF said, “This project is highlighted by the  cooperative  partnership  between  Syracuse Police Department and SUNY-ESF, which combines applied research with actual, real-world casework. We see this collaboration leading to more effective decision making in the field through the application of jointly developed technology and procedures.  We are excited to support the City of Syracuse in this most important diagnostic effort.” 

“As the justice system continues to place higher and higher technical demands on law enforcement when determining evidence,” Syracuse Police Spokesperson Terrence McGinn said. “The Syracuse Police Department is very pleased to continue and expand our existing 14-year applied research partnership with the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF).  We will work to bring all the benefits we can to our community.”  

Specifically, the funding would enable a more effective infield decision making process by improving Gunshot Residue (GSR)/ Inorganic Firearms Discharge Residue (iFDR) detection and analysis using x-ray spectrometers and image analysis (SEM/ EDX) to expand the current programs assistance to the Syracuse Police Department’s fight against gun violence. The research and development of the new technology would be supported by SUNY-ESF and implemented by the Syracuse Police Department. 

The funding for the new technology development program would come from The U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice Applied Research and Development in Forensic Science for Criminal Justice Purposes grant program.

Senator Gillibrand’s complete letter to Attorney General Holder:

Dear Attorney General Holder, 

I write in support of the joint application submitted by the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) and the Syracuse Police Department (SPD) for funding from the Applied Research and Development in Forensic Science for Criminal Justice Purposes through the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice. This funding will enable more effective decision-making in the field through application of improved Gunshot Residue (GSR)/Inorganic Firearms Discharge Residue (iFDR) detection technology and analysis. 

            This collaborative project expands an existing applied research partnership between the SUNY-ESF and the SPD.  SUNY-ESF offers 22 undergraduate and 30 graduate degree programs, including bachelors, masters and doctoral programs in the sciences, engineering and forestry. The Syracuse Police Department is comprised of over 500 officers serving a population of over 164,000 people. 

            The requested funding will be used to install new equipment with enhanced capabilities that can help investigate known weapon and ammunition combinations.  This project will allow authorities to investigate and analyze different weapon and ammunition firing scenarios to be used in solving crimes.  

            I ask that you please give this application your full consideration. If you have any questions, or desire further information, please do not hesitate to contact my staff member at Andrew Usyk at (202) 224-4451.