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Community group meets to take on gun violence in Tallahassee

Posted at 5:26 PM, Jan 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-17 18:07:38-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The number of shootings in Tallahassee throughout 2019 came out to 69, with more than a dozen of those ending with someone dead.

The gun violence problem in Tallahassee is one that cannot be ignored. That's why local groups are stepping up to bring the number of shootings down.

The Blueprint group is made up of faith and community leaders along with officers and lawyers who recognize the need to end the gun violence.

The group met Friday at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church to organize and talk about ways handle the gun violence problem. The panel was put together by the Tallahassee National Action Network and the Tallahassee Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance.

Along with this larger group, breakout groups were setup to take on specific issues.

One committee will focus on supporting and strengthening at risk programs that work with young people in the community. Another will specifically focus on ways to strengthen community and police relations.

Tiffany Baker is a criminal defense lawyer and co-chair of the Blueprint Panel. Baker plans to use her job to bring a different perspective to the table.

"From my perspective, understanding individuals and their circumstances when they encounter law enforcement," said Baker. "As a criminal defense attorney, I bring what I believe is their perspective to the table."

Members also heard from Tallahassee Police Chief Lawrence Revell, about how he plans to make sure there is a strong connection between the police department and the community.

"I've said repeatedly that my goal is to bring the police department and the city together," said Revell. "To heal the rift that has occurred over the years and the measure of my success will simply be at the end of my term whether that has been repaired or not. That is my first priority "

The group's overall goal is to get out in communities in Tallahassee to reduce crime. They plan to work with at risk youth programs and law enforcement in hopes of getting state leaders involved in ending the violence.

"Gun shooting and violence in this community. That's a major commitment. It's not going to take one church, or one race, one religion, one big preacher," Pastor R.B. Holmes explained. "It's going to take all of us collectively to make that happen."

There are break out committees on this panel that will address different areas.

In all, there will be three meetings. The next one is planned for January 30.

The group plans to send their plan to commissioners and state leaders.