In less than two weeks, a group of community leaders and local officials is expected to come up with ways to help reduce Tallahassee’s sudden increase in gun violence, and some members of the panel say they’re ready to start.
Heather Mitchell is the President of the United Way of the Big Bend, and one of the newly established 16-member Community Leadership Council on Gun Violence. Tallahassee Police Chief Mike DeLeo recently announced it was part of a five-prong approach to get feedback, after a series of officer-involved shootings in recent weeks.
“I’m just excited that he’s doing this. I think this shows a lot of about his character and his leadership and his management style to invite the community to really look at this,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell says while there are a lot of different groups, like the Boys and Girls Club, doing great things to help the community in this area, there’s one thing that makes the council unique.
“I think the Boys and Girls Club has a lot of documented evidence that shows that kids that go through their programs are less likely to find themselves in situations behind a gun, or in violent situations period,” she added. “I think there are a lot of different pieces in the community…what we haven’t had is that collective piece where we are all looking toward ‘we want zero-gun violence, and this is what we’re each going to do, and we’re going to thread all those things together.’”
Some ideas that Mitchell says were brought to her attention by TPD Chief DeLeo includes NOLA for life, an initiative by New Orleans to reduce violence. The council’s first meeting will be held on July 23rd.
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