TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — "I've been a victim of gun violence and I've also seen students and persons in the community affected by gun violence."
Brandon Williams is a teacher at Raa Middle School. He's ready for Tallahassee City Commissioners to roll out the $1 million the city set aside every year for the next five years to address gun violence in the community.
"The key to our future are children and the education system, and I think if we inform our kids and students at an early age we can prevent a lot of issues from happening."
Over the last 2 years, there have been 398 shootings and 22 homicides by firearm in the city, according to the Tallahassee Police Department.
In the next 2 years, the city is giving:
- $300,000 to gun violence intervention,
- $400,000 to restorative justice,
- $200,000 to Big Bend Crime Stoppers,
- $1.1 million to Community Human Service Partnerships (CHSP).
"So we have the CHSP process which is how human service providers are funded, non-profits, so what we're doing is creating a new category for that funding process that includes gun violence."
City Commissioner Jack Porter says local organizations will have an equal chance to apply for that funding so they can expand their mission of reducing violence.
"It is not the city commission's business to pick winners and losers that's why we created the CHSP process to begin with, it is citizen-driven and it works so it's the best decision we could have made and the reason I recommended it is to create a new category specifically for gun violence and be able to place that money there and allow the citizen-driven process to determine the appropriate places and the allocations," added Mayor John Dailey.
"It's a way of addressing gun violence that's not over-policing communities which has been the case in years past you know you have a gun problem and you go in and over-police a community and it creates bad blood between the community and the cops."
Dr. Edward Clark is a community public health scientist. He's talking about the gun violence intervention strategy which will bring on a consultant to create a crime intervention model. They'll work with police and community service providers to put the highest risk street gangs on prior notice and hold the entire group accountable for their actions. The overarching goal is to build relationships, offer support, and overall change high risk group peer dynamics by setting clear, moral standards of what's right and wrong in the community...all so people can leave a life of crime behind.
"It tries to identify the little big things we call it…folks not having an ID, delinquent child supports, something like that and helping people to address those needs in an effort to redirect their focus and create an avenue for them to be productive citizens."
The funding will roll out over the next 2 years starting in 2023. The remaining 3 years of the funding will be decided based on the success and needs of the first two years.
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