Religious and civic leaders create committee to tackle gun violence in Tallahassee

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By: Monica Casey | WCTV Eyewitness News
January 17, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Religious and civic leaders in Tallahassee came together in a "Blueprint Panel" to discuss gun violence with TPD Chief Lawrence Revell.

Members of the Tallahassee Chapter of the National Action Network and the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance created the panel.

The committee is made up of religious and civic leaders from around the community; some had never met each other, but they say it's a good thing, because it means the entire community is represented.

Dr. Joseph Wright is the co-chair of the committee; he said the ultimate recommendations after the committee's three meetings will be far-reaching.

"One, it's going to affect the state attorney. It may even affect the governors office, or Washington DC. Because we need money and resources to make the reforms that we need to make in this county. And I'm hoping that Tallahassee can serve as a model for the rest of the state," said Dr. Wright.

The goal is to identify creative and innovative events and activities to reduce crime and violence.

Objectives include:

  • to identify, suprt, and strengthen at-risk programs that target high crime in disadvantaged neighborhoods

  • to work in collaboration with the Tallahassee Chief of Police, the Leon County Sheriff and other law enforcement agencies to combat crime in our community

  • to review and implement policies that will effectively strengthen police and community relations

  • to present a "White Paper" summation of the panel's findings and priority recommendations
  • "This is a short term project with a long term effect, because it's going to truly affect the lives of many many people for years to come" said Dr. Wright.

    "I'm very excited to be doing that because I've already been doing some research myself," said Jase Lindsey.

    Lindsey is an author and motivational speaker who grew up in Tallahassee.

    "I know all too well the advantages on the side where everyone has everything given to them, and the disadvantages of the Southside community, so I think it's important to bridge those gaps and find a level playing field for everybody and to provide opportunities for those who may not know they exist," said Lindsey.

    He's part of the committee specifically focused on strengthening programs that target high crime in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

    "So definitely finding after school programs, finding community programs that kids don't know about, and their parents, and invigorating them," Lindsey said.

    "I think there's an opportunity here to rebrand relations between police and community. We miss the fact that people who are engaged in law enforcement, they're neighbors too," said Christic Henry, a local activist.

    Chief Revell discussed the creation of the Community Service Officers in TPD's partnership with the TEMPO program; youths then have the opportunity to become full-time officers.

    "They are going to have well paying jobs, good jobs with benefits," said Revell.

    Revell also said TPD will reevaluate its policy of making juvenile mug shots publicly available.

    "In a city having over 90,000 students that come in and out of it every year whose parents are leaving their babies here for education, the last thing we need is to have a serious uptick in crime or crime related issues," said Henry.

    The committee will meet three times before presenting the White Paper findings; those meetings will be held at the Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church, at 2015 Lake Bradford Road.

  • Thursday, January 30, 2:00 p.m.

  • Thursday, February 20, 2:00 p.m.

  • Thursday, March 26, 2:00 p.m.

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