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Long and Short-Term Response to Gun Violence Sought

Police responding to the shooting at FSU's Strozier Library.

The first of two community forums on gun violence this month took place Wednesday (4/1/15) evening at the Lincoln Neighborhood Center in Tallahassee’s Frenchtown neighborhood.  The second forum happens April 20th at the Jack McLean Center in the Southcity area.  Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo welcomes the give-and-take.

“I think it’s important to listen to the community and the people who live in the neighborhoods and that’s why two different locations and two different times and to try and make an effort that we reach out so they can engage with us, as opposed to them coming to us, we’re coming to them to make it very available and to hear what their concerns are,” DeLeo said before the meeting.

Between 2013 and 2014, police statistics show there’s been a 76-percent increase in aggravated assaults with a firearm in the city.  But DeLeo doesn’t consider this exclusively a law enforcement issue.

“The idea is preventing, not reacting to it,” he said.  “Unfortunately, so much of what we do is react to the incident; the call.  We show up and then it’s what can we do to manage the scene and help people best recover.  So the idea now is what can we do to start preventing these things and to do that we have to find the underlying causes so that’s what we’re trying to do long-term.”

In the short term, however, DeLeo would like some additional response resources.  This week, he sent an additional budget request for 2016 of $3.4 million to the City’s budgeting office.  That figure would cover the hiring of some thirty additional personnel and the purchase of equipment.