North Side shooting prompts questions about police response in Syracuse

North Side shooting prompts questions about police response in Syracuse

Allen Rufus' family says he's been released from the hospital and is at home resting two days after being shot on Syracuse's North Side.

He's recovering from wounds his family believes could have been avoided if police responded to his first 911, which he placed before the shooting.

The incident has some people raising concerns about when police respond to calls in Syracuse; police union president Jeff Piedmonte explained Thursday there weren't enough officers available the night of the shooting to respond to what was initially a lower-priority call.

"Why did everybody show up after that? Well everybody now drops what they're doing because you have somebody shot, you have a suspect in the area," Piedmonte said. The Rufus family feels the shooting could have been prevented with police intervention, a contention Piedmonte didn't strike down.

"This is an extreme example because somebody did get shot, but it does show what happens when we're not available to go quell the harassment," Piedmonte said.

Piedmonte says with more officers contemplating retirement by year's end, the staffing issue could get worse before it gets better.

"If we're going to wait until the next mayor gets in to hire, the officers won't be effective until next Christmas," he said.

A spokesperson for the mayor's office confirms they will not be increasing the current staffing level for the force, which is at least 45 officers short of what it has funding for. That's putting more stress on the 420 men and women currently working to keep the city safe.

"It's common sense. We're going with less and less officers. We haven't reconfigured the police department at all," Piedmonte said.

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