Frank Fowler

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Syracuse area’s Gang Violence Task Force has been able to make a dent in some of the city’s gang activity this summer with its most recent crackdown on gangs.

There are 17 distinct criminal gangs spread out among several Syracuse neighborhoods, according to the Gang Violence Task Force. With names like Bricktown, Elk Block and the Northside Bloods, officials they are the source of much of the crime in the city.  

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner was on the city’s west side on Thursday, highlighting efforts of police and other officials to improve troubled neighborhoods. But some residents are upset that some neighborhoods have been struggling for years.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Syracuse police have announced another round of gang-related arrests. After multiple people were shot and two people were killed over the Fourth of July weekend, one of those homicides kicked an anti-crime program into action.

The Truce program in in the city of Syracuse is a community law enforcement collaboration meant to reduce gun violence. It’s triggered, or pushed into action, when gang members, responsible for much of the crime in the city, are involved in a homicide.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Prosecutors and police agencies across central New York are trying a new strategy as they continue to fight the rising use of synthetic marijuana. Not since the bath salts craze of 2012 have local police and emergency personnel come across so many agitated individuals high on synthetic drugs. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Enhanced enforcement by the Syracuse Police Department this winter, as part of the TRUCE initiative, has led to the arrest of 20 Bricktown and Bootcamp gang members.

Syracuse TRUCE started two years ago, as a collaboration between police and community service organizations with the aim of reducing gun violence in the city.

DJ Leln / via Flickr

Some of the hand-me-down gear the Syracuse police force has received from the Pentagon is harmless - and in fact pretty useful: First aid kits, 40 pairs of long johns, 50 pairs of winter boots, even electrical tape and bungee cords.

Ellen Abbott

Research shows a connection between early childhood education and crime. Central New York boosters of universal pre-kindergarten say that should be an important consideration when it comes to funding quality programs.

Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler says the statistics logically lead to the conclusion that pre-K prevents crime.

Matthias Ripp / Flickr

Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler is helping an organization that’s advocating for more after school programs.

The highest profile member of the Afterschool Alliance is former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

“After school programs are between three and six o’clock, which is the danger zone for our kids,” Schwarzenegger said.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

More police cameras are heading to crime-ridden Syracuse neighborhoods, spreading into more areas on the city’s Northside.

Patricia Simmons is pastor of a church in the Washington Square neighborhood of Syracuse. She’s happy the crime-deterring cameras are coming.

"Our church is on the corner of Park and Turtle,” Simmons said. “Outside our door we see prostitution, we see drug activities happen. If we have a big event, the folks come out to solicit and I think the cameras would also help to alleviate some of that.” 

Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

Several local politicians, including Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) and New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman appeared at city hall in downtown Syracuse to throw their support behind the federal Smartphone Theft Prevention Act.

The act would require smartphone makers to install a “kill switch” on their devices that would allow customers to delete data and deactivate their phone remotely.

Schneiderman says the major manufactures have the technology to do this but are choosing not to.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Syracuse-area advocates of universal pre-kindergarten want lawmakers to include it in the state budget expected to be approved in Albany in the next ten days. Supporters crystallized their argument for pre-K  at a news conference at Delaware School on Syracuse’s west side Thursday.

The call to  include universal pre-K in the state budget came from business leaders, like Centerstate CEO president Rob Simpson

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

It will be easier for Syracuse Police to deal with animal emergencies from now on, after a central New York animal cruelty group donated 25 first response kits the the police department.

Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler says cops are often the first to come across an injured animal.

"We are the first to respond to a number of calls for police services, and we take all of them very serious," Fowler said. "And ranking up there with injury and harm to human beings, we take injury and harm to our animals very serious.”

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Syracuse police have cracked an almost 30-year-old murder case using a combination of high tech DNA and intensive police work. The arrest of a Georgia man who had long been a suspect in the investigation of the death of his estranged wife, is the latest success in the Syracuse Police Department’s cold case unit.

Authorities say Ronald Meadow will be arraigned on second-degree murder charges in Syracuse later this month, in connection with the death of his estranged wife, Colleen Meadow, who was found strangled to death in her northside apartment in March 1985.  

Syracuse commemorates 9/11

Sep 11, 2013
Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

Public officials, current and retired police officers and firefighters, and citizens gathered at Forman Park in downtown Syracuse this morning to commemorate the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler, Syracuse Fire Chief Paul Linnertz lit candles and stood in front of the police memorial. Seventeen minutes of silence was observed representing the time between the first and second planes hitting the twin towers of the World Trade Centers.    

The city of Syracuse is taking some new steps in the fight against gun crime and gang violence. "Syracuse Truce" will bring police and community organizations together to deter crime.

Police are installing more cameras on the streets of Syracuse. The addition is part of a program they say has already cut crime, and in neighborhoods that need it the most.

Remembering fallen members of the police force

May 15, 2012
Matt Johnston

It was a day of remembrance today in Syracuse at the newly renovated Forman Park. Mayor Stephanie Miner, Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler, and Onondaga County Sheriff Kevin Walsh were all on hand to honor members of the police force that have fallen in the line of duty.

The Syracuse Police Department has changed some policies regarding allegations of sex abuse that come into the department, in the wake of the Bernie Fine investigation.  Fine is the former assistant S-U   Basketball coach who is accused of sexually molesting three young men, at different times since 1990 .   Police Chief Frank Fowler says an initial allegation came into the department in 2002, from Bobby Davis, a former Ballboy with the team.  Fowler says in a brief conversation, Davis told a detective he'd been molested in 1990 at Fine's home.

UPDATE: WRVO's Ellen Abbott caught up with Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler Tuesday afternoon. Click "Listen" above to hear the raw audio. Note: The other voice you hear asking questions is Syracuse Post-Standard reporter Tim Knauss. 

Earlier story: Syracuse police, along with the Onondaga County District Attorney, the U.S. Attorney and the U.S. Secret Service continue to investigate sexual abuse allegations against former Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine.