TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — More than 50 statewide stakeholders met at Florida A&M University Tuesday to participate in a special forum on creating solution-focused dialogue about community violence prevention.
"It gives me hope that there are several different types of people coming together to talk about law enforcement," pastor Marvin Bouquette explained.
He and other faith leaders met with local, state, and federal law enforcement representatives, along with students, and other community advocates.
"It shows the All-In mentality of all the people in Leon County that we're trying to work together to resolve one problem that's causing so much issues in our community," said Leon County Sheriff's Office captain Bobby Green.
Through moderated discussion, attendees voted on top crime-fighting priorities based on six pillars: Building Trust and Legitimacy, Policy and Oversight, Technology and Social Media, Community Policing and Crime Reduction, Training and Education, and Officer Wellness and Safety. Blended groups then identified strategies to increase success in each area. Captain Green said he was pleased with some of the feedback.
"I was very pleased to hear someone thought along the same mindset as law enforcement, that we're making it stricter for those who get their guns stolen to penalize them, so that's kind of refreshing to hear," Green said.
Florida A&M University student Jabrea Ali called the conversation inspiring, and it lays the groundwork for building stronger, more transparent community and police interaction.
"I think we need to start with trust," Ali said. "That trust has to be built between the youth and the community leaders because, a lot of the times we ask questions and they don't get answered, so I feel like for us to be re-inspired and reengaged, that trust has to be rebuilt, and that's something that community leaders, faith leaders they can kind of spearhead and take on."
Tuesday's meeting was the first in a what organizers hope to be a series of solution-driven dialogue sessions.
They plan to compile the suggestions presented into actionable strategy and re-convene in late summer/early fall.