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New York Mayor Bill De Blasio– Photo: New York Mayor Bill De Blasio is putting 200 cops on the hunt for illegal guns while enlisting state courts to fast track cases where guns are used.

“Project Fast Track” will unite law enforcement, prosecutors and courts in historic effort to get illegal guns and violent criminals off the streets

“When somebody makes a decision to pick up a gun, that’s like a pre-murder case,” says gun control advocates backing the new system.

The Mayor’s office announced the formation of the New York Police Department’s new Gun Violence Suppression Division as well as “Project Fast Track” which will see a “dedicated group of judges” to hear gun cases within six months.

New York mayor, Bill de Blasio, despite the city enjoying record-low crime rates, paints the move as putting the screws to street gangs and those who use illegal firearms.

“New Yorkers in every neighborhood in this city are united in their desire for safe streets,” said de Blasio, a member of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns group, in a statement. “To the few individuals responsible for New York City’s remaining gun violence, our message is clear: you will be found and you will be quickly prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

The multifaceted approach from City Hall will see a new division formed of 200 NYPD personnel drawn from across the department tasked with cracking down on illegal gun sales in the 15 police precincts with the highest rates of gun violence.

In a separate effort, the NYPD’s gang unit will begin to share intelligence with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to root out possible illegal gun activity.

“Much has been done under Commissioner Bratton’s watch and in recent years to reduce gun violence, but there is still a persistent threat to our public safety from trafficking and a relatively small number of criminals intent on committing gun violence. “Project Fast Track” is the first imitative of its kind, coordinating the resources and efforts of law enforcement, prosecutors and the courts so that all levels of the criminal justice system can work in concert to root out illegal guns.”

“The goal of the NYPD’s new Gun Violence Suppression Division and the City’s Project Fast Track is to identify, investigate, arrest and successfully prosecute people with illegal guns,” said Police Commissioner William Bratton.

BrattonAnother 21 employees will be added to NYC’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner along with over $2 million in funding to allow that agency to swab all guns recovered by police in the city for DNA evidence moving forward.

Once a gun case it built by police, dedicated teams of prosecutors will present them to judges in special “gun courts” established under the project with the goal of clearing the log-jam of defendants awaiting trial on these charges. As noted by the Mayor’s office, over 200 individuals are currently in city jails with pending cases averaging nearly a year.

Two courtrooms in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, along with two judges, Suzanne M. Mondo and Cassandra M. Mullen, will tackle the backlog as reported by the New York Times.

The gun courts recall a similar effort in 2003, when a court was established dedicated to gun cases in Brooklyn.

While the court had initial successes, it eventually became overloaded with a backlog of cases, partly because of a new law increasing the minimum prison sentence for gun possession, making plea deals less likely. Court officials suspended the court in 2009.

Officials said these new courts would have greater resources, including retired judges who may be welcomed back to the bench as the program expands.

The first gun court will open in Brooklyn later this month.




The Crime Commission is a non-partisan non-profit organization working to make New York City’s criminal justice and public safety policies and practices more effective through innovation. For more information on the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City, please visit our website: Citizens Crime Commission of New York City (www.nycrimecommission.org)

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