WXXI AM News

Todd Baxter

Monroe County Sheriff's Office

Deaths in Monroe County from opioid overdoses decreased in 2019 for the second straight year, according to data released this week by the county’s heroin task force.

The numbers are preliminary and usually differ slightly from the official tally from the county medical examiner’s office that comes out later in the year. Still, they offer a glimpse into a changing tide in an epidemic that’s claimed more than 300,000 lives nationwide, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Monroe County's top cops shun 'annoyance law'

Dec 4, 2019
James Brown / WXXI

A trio of Monroe County's most visible law enforcement officers -- the county sheriff, Rochester's police chief, and the city's police union president -- on Wednesday decried a new county law outlawing intentionally annoying an officer or other first responder.

 


James Brown / WXXI

State Attorney General Tish James stopped in Rochester Friday to present more than $160,000 for police body worn cameras. The money comes from the attorney general’s fund of money confiscated from organized crime busts. James said some of these cameras cost a thousand dollars a piece.

“While these are common sense tools, the reality is that many law enforcement agencies do not have the resources to purchase them,” said James

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Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter and Gates Town Supervisor Mark Assini are calling for the appointment of a full-time opioid czar. 

Last Friday, Assini shook up the bimonthly meeting of the local Opioid Task Force. Assini railed against what he perceives as a lack of leadership and a losing fight against heroin. Several members of the task force told WXXI News that Assini's outburst was "jaw-dropping." 

Jennifer Faringer chairs the task force and says it was like a bomb hit the room.

There's a new sheriff in town. Todd Baxter won a resounding victory over longtime incumbent Patrick O'Flynn in Monroe County. Sheriff-elect Baxter joins us to talk about his priorities going forward.