Debate : Albany SNUG Program
The SNUG program was launched by the New York State Senate in 2009. The program aims to reduce gun and gang violence. SNUG, which is “guns” spelled backwards, came to Albany in 2010, but funding the program has been a struggle. Shootings dropped by 29 percent during SNUG’s first eight months of operation in New York's Capital city. Albany Common Councilor Barbara Smith, representing the 4th ward, hails the program as a success.
In 2011 the city of Albany's SNUG program, run by the non-profit Trinity Alliance, was shuttered for a month due to state budget cuts. It didn't get up and running again until the state came through with about $150,000 in aid. Community advocate Marlon Anderson thinks its time to stop begging at the Capitol's doorstep for money to keep the Albany SNUG program active. He's asking the city to give the police department oversight of SNUG.
Barbara Smith explains that SNUG is modeled after the anti-gun initiative Ceasefire Chicago, launched in 2000 in the Windy City. Anderson firmly believes that SNUG could continue to function with independence and autonomy, if it were to break the Chicago mold and operate under the auspices of the police department.
Albany Police Chief Steven Krokoff has been an outspoken advocate of SNUG - the chief thinks the program is effective “as is.”
SNUG has run into financial trouble in other cities: In Yonkers, the program also began in 2010 and received a total of $575,000 from state and city funding since its inception. When SNUG's funding dried up back in December, Mayor Mike Spano and City Council member Christopher Johnson agreed to give $100,000 to keep it operational for the next six months.