City of Jackson aims to reduce gun violence through collaboration
JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) - The Jackson Police Department is launching its new Group Violence Intervention Strategy (also called GVI).
A presentation from Cheryl Ragland, the City’s first GVI Coordinator, and Police and Fire Services Director Elmer Hitt at the Tuesday, Oct. 25 City Council meeting updated officials and the community on its progress.
Approved funding in Aug. 2021 by the City Council will go towards the initiative. Since the funding approval, the police department has been working with the National Network for Safe Communities (NNSC) at John Jay College to design a strategy aimed at reducing gun violence specific to the Jackson area.
GVI is an evidence-based strategy that has the goal to reduce gun violence by focusing on those that are at the highest risk for violent victimization and or offending by bringing to them a credible message that they want to see them safe, alive, and out of prison, and that violence is not going to be tolerated in the community, mentioned the release.
With the GVI program underway, the Jackson Police Department is working toward a community-focused approach to reduce the cycle of group violence. Under this new plan, law enforcement, social service, and the community will directly work together to approach those committing gun violence and look for direct solutions to stop them from participating in destructive behavior.
Ragland is known for her work with several community organizations, including the City’s Human Relations Commission. “The offer of help and assistance is real and gives people an opportunity to change the trajectory of their lives because ultimately, GVI is law enforcement and our communities standing and acting together to lower gun violence within the community itself,” Ragland said.
“I’m passionate about the work and honored to be a part of this positive change for the City of Jackson.” Elmer Hitt, the Director of Jackson Police and Fire Services, says a community-based approach has been shown to reduce the cycle of group violence in cities across the country. “I am excited about the opportunity this strategy brings to make a difference for some of the most vulnerable citizens in our community,” Hitt said. “It has the potential of saving lives and making our community a safer place for all.”
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