Racial violence by law enforcement a public health problem

David A. Love (@DavidALove) writes for thegrio.com. He is a writer and human rights activist based in Philadelphia. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely his. (CNN)The police killing of Philando Castile near Minneapolis on Thursday– and its ……
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Community Leaders Unveil Plan to Prevent Violence

A diverse group of community leaders on Monday (Aug. 25, 2014) held a press conference at the Edgecomb Courthouse, downtown Tampa, unveiling a groundbreaking long-term plan to prevent violence in Hillsborough County and make our community a safer place.

Representatives of the Violence Prevention Collaborative (VPC), a body formed by the Board of County Commissioners, discussed their work over the past year and release two new documents-the prevention plan, called Safe & Sound Hillsborough, and preliminary results of a survey of Hillsborough County youth. They also shared new data, including detailed “heat maps” that show the prevalence of poverty, truancy, domestic violence, child abuse, and violent crime throughout the county. These maps pinpoint areas where prevention resources should be targeted in the next phase of the VPC’s work.

The VPC is chaired by County Commissioner Kevin Beckner and includes representatives from Tampa, Plant City, Temple Terrace, Hillsborough County Public Schools, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the Tampa Police Department, the State Attorney’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office, the 13th Judicial Circuit Court, and 77 community members who served on seven specialized committees.

“Law enforcement alone cannot solve the problem of violence in Hillsborough County or anywhere else,” said Commissioner Beckner. “Our plan is based on the understanding that violence can be prevented when all parts of a community – government agencies, community organizations and civic and faith leaders – come together to pursue data-driven, evidence-based strategies that address violence as a public health issue.”

The VPC was launched by the Board of County Commissioners after the school shootings in Newtown, Ct., shocked the nation and our community. Members have spent the past year compiling and analyzing local data and conducting a comprehensive survey of young people in Hillsborough County. Preliminary results from the survey will be discussed at the press conference by Dr. Martha Coulter of the University of South Florida’s College of Public Health.

Other speakers at the press conference will include County Commissioner Beckner; Col. Donna Lusczynski of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office; Hillsborough County School Board Member Cindy Stuart; and Robert Blount, president of Abe Brown Ministries. All have been part of the work of the Violence Prevention Collaborative for the past year.

The Hillsborough County Community Violence Prevention Collaborative was created in the summer of 2013 as an initiative to transform the way local policy makers address violence. This initiative shifts policy from a public safety to a public health model and aligns community and professional stakeholders to develop a comprehensive prevention and intervention approach.

Contact: Stephen P. Hegarty
Chair, Communications Subcommittee813-272-4060

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Racial violence by law enforcement a public health problem

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