BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — In response to the Tops mass shooting, the Erie County Sheriff’s Office proposed what’s the creation of what’s called a Behavioral Threat Assessment Team that would investigate threats that are reported to police or found online.

Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies will also be involved.

That team is now one step toward being created.

On Thursday, the Erie County Legislature approved funding for the team, roughly $670,000, which will fund a senior detective and five deputy detectives. Initially, there were some concerns about finding the money, but lawmakers were able to carve out the funds within the budget.

Investigators will receive free training from the U.S. Secret Service.

“The experts in this are U.S. Secret Service, they deal with behavioral threats all the time towards the president and so forth they have the template already in place,” said Erie County Sheriff John Garcia.

The sheriff’s office said it will contact schools, medical facilities and community organizations such as churches, to have them join the program. Garcia said it may turn out that criminal charges aren’t filed against individuals, instead they are put into mental health programs.

“What I like about it, it would be a proactive approach where we won’t see what happened in Broome County where they go out they interview a potential threat and that threat falls through the cracks and then we get what we had here on 5/14,” said Erie County Legislator Howard Johnson.

Sheriff Garcia said he expects the program to be launched by the end of the year. ECSO said they will have to backfill vacant positions, due to the creation of the program.

County lawmakers say they expect to get updates on how the program is going.

“It was amended today that the legislature as a body is asking to make sure that we do get a report back so anything that is happening out there we just want to make sure that the funding that’s been allocated in actually doing something positive,” said Erie County Legislator Frank Todaro.

The goal of the program is to try to make sure threats don’t fall through the cracks.

“We all are reacting as one to what happened here in Erie County and we don’t want it to happen ever again,” Garcia said.

An Executive Order from Governor Kathy Hochul in May, after the Tops mass shooting, called on every county to do a review of its methods in addressing threats of domestic terrorism.

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Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.