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Commission Considers Public Safety, Gun Violence Solutions

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Tallahassee Commissioners say they want to address the area’s high rate of violent crimes, but they’re pushing for a more local approach. The conversation comes after the city's gun violence council recommended a Chicago-based violence prevention program to address the crime issues.

Mayor Andrew Gillum says he doesn’t think the program Cure Violence is the answer.

“If we’re not dealing with the hierarchy of gangs and the need to interrupt at that level, and it's more of an individual level…it seems there’s an intervention necessary, I don’t think it’s the model Cure Violence has created.”

The city’s gun violence council is pushing for the Chicago-based model to come to Tallahassee. A January report on the issue found much of the violent crime is perpetrated by individuals and neighborhood “cliques” not organized gangs, which the Cure Violence model was created to address.

Gillum and other commissioners say they’re interested in expanding some of the programs already underway by the Tallahassee Police Department.

One example of that is community policing. Police Chief Michael DeLeo says officers are already doing what could be called community policing. He says TPD’s athletic league is an example. But he adds there’s no question he’d like to see more.

“The community policing for us, what we want to accomplish is not where it’s just programs. We want that philosophy throughout the entire agency. And that’s what we’re working on. And with the support you’ve given us with the additional officers, that’s where we want to get back to, maybe not the officer walking the beat, but the officer having that personal contact and that time to interact with people when there’s nothing wrong,” DeLeo says.

DeLeo says as the city brings on more of the officers officials budgeted for last year, citizens can expect to see more of that kind of community policing. Meanwhile, commissioners are considering whether the city should apply for another COPS grant, which could help offset the cost of hiring even more officers.

Follow @HatterLynn

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

Find complete bio, contact info, and more stories here.
Follow @Regan_McCarthy

Regan McCarthy is the Assistant News Director for WFSU Public Media. Before coming to Tallahassee, Regan graduated with honors from Indiana University’s Ernie Pyle School of Journalism. She worked for several years for NPR member station WFIU in Bloomington, Ind., where she covered local and state government and produced feature and community stories.

Phone: (850) 645-6090 | rmccarthy@fsu.edu

Find complete bio, contact info, and more stories here.