Contact: Janine Kava, Press Office
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services
(518) 457-8906 or (518) 275-5508 – cell
janine.kava@dcjs.ny.gov
www.criminaljustice.ny.gov
For immediate release: Wednesday, May 20, 2009

State provides funds to offset Binghamton P.D.'s overtime costs associated with American Civic Association shooting

The Binghamton Police Department will be able to replenish the overtime it expended in connection with last month’s deadly shooting at the American Civic Association after receiving a $23,732 grant from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS).

DCJS awarded the grant based on the number of overtime hours – approximately 580 – that police accumulated in response to the April 3 shooting. Thirteen people were killed before the gunman, Jiverly Wong, committed suicide that day.

“Governor David A. Paterson and I are pleased to provide the Binghamton Police Department with this grant to defray the cost of responding to last month’s devastating crime at the American Civic Association,” Deputy Secretary for Public Safety Denise E. O’Donnell said. “Even in the face of great fiscal challenges, New York State will never shirk from its most fundamental responsibility – the protection of its citizenry.

“We recognize the additional strain that has been placed on the city’s budget as a result of this senseless crime and want to ensure that the Police Department continues to have the resources it needs to serve and protect the city and its residents,” Deputy Secretary O’Donnell said. “Our thoughts and prayers remain with the people of Binghamton, especially the victims and their loved ones, as they continue to heal in the aftermath of this terrible tragedy.”

Added Binghamton Mayor Matthew T. Ryan: “The financial assistance of the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services is both much needed and greatly appreciated. Like other municipalities across the state, Binghamton is facing severe budgetary challenges and incurring the significant cost of the American Civic Association tragedy would have compromised our fiscal health that much more.”

“The support from DCJS mitigates this concern, allowing us to keep our focus on recovering from the tragedy, providing essential constituent services, and limiting local property taxes,” Mayor Ryan said. “Our city and our state will be defined not by this incident, but by our response to it, and these resources represent our commitment to heal, mend, and become a stronger community.”

The police department’s overtime expenses would have been greater had officers not agreed to take compensatory time instead of being paid. That saved the city an additional $18,000, Police Chief Joseph T. Zikuski added.

“In these tough financial times, this will make a big difference,” Chief Zikuski  said. “On behalf of the entire Police Department, I also would like to take this opportunity to thank the state not only for this financial assistance but all the help provided during and after this terrible tragedy.”

DCJS provided the funds through the federal Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program. Several other state agencies, including the New York State Police and the state's Crime Victims Board (CVB), also provided assistance the day of the shooting and in its aftermath.

Immediately following the incident, CVB staff members were on site in Binghamton, working in partnership with the Crime Victims Assistance Center to provide information, determine eligibility and handle claims for anyone seeking assistance. To date, the CVB has received 36 compensation claim applications from victims of the American Civic Association shooting; the board has paid funeral expenses, as well as provided reimbursement for medical treatment, counseling and lost wages.

The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services is a multi-function criminal justice support agency with a variety of responsibilities, including collection and analysis of statewide crime data; operation of the DNA databank and criminal fingerprint files; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state; and administration of the state’s Sex Offender Registry and a toll-free telephone number (1-800-262-3257) that allows anyone to research the status of an offender.

Established in 1966, the five-member Crime Victims Board’s mission is to “provide compensation to innocent victims of crime in a timely, efficient and compassionate manner; to fund direct services to crime victims via a network of community-based programs; and to advocate for the rights and benefits of all innocent victims of crime.” The board has offices in Albany, Brooklyn and Buffalo.

The board is governed by five members, all of whom are appointed for seven-year terms by the governor with the advice and consent of the state Senate. For more information, visit www.ovs.ny.gov.