When John Flynn was sworn in as the Erie County District Attorney, he set out to change the tone in the DA's office. One of his campaign promises was to solve cold cases.
"I told numerous individuals, especially mothers, I would never forget about their loved ones I would never forget about those who were taken too early in life," said Flynn.
Working with the Buffalo Police, Flynn's office was able to either indict or resolve five cold cases, including a November conviction of a woman guilty of murdering a World War I veteran in 1983.
While Flynn found success there, present-day homicide conviction rates for his office in 2017 were below 50 percent.
He says that number rises closer to 80 percent when you remove gang related crimes.
"If there's no video involved and there's no murder weapon left behind, where we can get DNA on these cases? We need witnesses to come forward," said Flynn.
Flynn says his office must do a better job reaching out to the community and building trust with potential eyewitnesses.
"My office will do whatever it takes to protect these witnesses. I have to keep getting that message out. I need people to trust me and realize I really will do whatever I can to keep you safe, but we need you to come forward to help solves some of these crimes," said Flynn.
The ongoing opioid crisis made headlines throughout 2017, seeing hundreds die as a result of an overdose.
But Flynn says a crown jewel of his first year was his office's involvement in the creation of the nation's first opioid court here in Buffalo.
"Since May 1st, have had almost 200 people enrolled in the program and I'm proud to say we have not had 1 overdose death yet," said Flynn.
While the court is a step in the right direction, Flynn says his office will hone in on the issue in 2018 and continue its effort to prosecute those who deal deadly heroin and fentanyl.
"If I can prove that it was that drug sold by that dealer, I'm going to prosecute that dealer for a homicide related offense. We've had one this year and going forward in 2018 they're going to be looked at much more closely," said Flynn.
The county also saw 17 hit-and-run accidents in 2017.
The DA's office hopes that by having solved 12 of those cases, it creates a deterrent going into 2018.