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Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil looks to take the next step in curbing local gun violence

A smiling man in a sheriff's uniform and badge in front of an American flag
Leon County Sheriff's Office
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Leon County Sheriff's Office
Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil

Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil spoke to the “Respect Yourself” Crime Prevention Task Force at its second meeting on Tuesday. He gave an update on the recommendations of the Council on the Status of Men and Boys.

Perhaps the biggest challenge, McNeil says, is that if you kick someone out of school, he or she has no place to go. And 85% of those kicked out of school are the ones engaged in the shootings taking place in our community.

“We want to get those kids back in school, but have a support system that goes with them from the point we identify them to the point, hopefully, they graduate from school," he said. "This is a daunting task, and I will tell you I really don’t want to do this. This is not what the sheriff signed up to do.”

McNeil says that to get youth back in school, it’s necessary to identify who they are, identify their needs and bring services together to support them. He’s working with several universities, including Florida State University and Florida A&M University, to do that.

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Margie Menzel covers local and state government for WFSU News. She has also worked at the News Service of Florida and Gannett News Service. She earned her B.A. in history at Vanderbilt University and her M.S. in journalism at Florida A&M University.