ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Winnebago County State’s Attorney J. Hanely announced the creation of a gun court to deal with a “gun crime epidemic.”

Under the new program, modeled on similar programs in Rochester, New York, and Providence, Rhode Island, criminal cases in which a firearm was used will be assigned to a specific judge and attorneys.

Hanley said the objective of the gun court would be to hold gun offenders accountable, reduce recidivism, and incentivize law-abiding behavior.

“Winnebago County is in the midst of a gun crime epidemic,” Hanely said, explaining the need for the specialized court.

Rockford Police said 400 guns were recovered in the city last year, and officers responded to over 1,000 shootings.

The court, overseen by Judge Joseph McGraw, will begin on May 16th, 2022, but Hanely said it would likely be a year before the court is dealing specifically with gun-related crimes.