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Louisville Violence Prevention Work Group Makes Recommendations

Louisville should hire a full-time violence prevention coordinator, do more to address vacant houses and foster more economic development in west Louisville, according to a report commissioned by Mayor Greg Fischer to find ways to address violence in Louisville.“This is not a mayor’s office program, this is not a police department program, this is not a parenting program. It takes all of us," said Fischer.The 37-member work group was created after three people were fatally shot in broad daylight in the Parkland neighborhood in May. Since then, five subcommittees have met to discuss how community building, education, employment, heath and criminal justice all play a role in the city's violence. At a news conference after the report's release, Fischer said the common themes of the report are youth, families and social norms.Each subgroup proposed various recommendations--nearly 80 in total--which Fischer's administration will review and use to create a long-term violence prevention strategy over the next six months.

The report is just the beginning, said LaQuandra Nesbitt, task force chair and city health director.  But, she said, Louisville is moving in the right direction.

A leading youth violence prevention expert, Jack Calhoun, met with city officials to discuss the report. He said, "the report you have is a gold mine. Now the work is to shape that into an action plan of goals, objectives."Also among the Violence Prevention Work Group's recommendations  are Louisville schools to implement violence prevention programs for children in pre-kindergarten to grade 12, more diversity training for teachers and intervention programs for young people who commit their first crimes, the report said.Read the Violence Prevention Work Group's report here.Fischer said Louisville has already begun addressing some issues related to violence, but metro government has yet to make a full plan -- and he called for community support in that process.Here are the 37 members of the task force:

  1. Chair Dr. Blaine Hudson, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Louisville (stepped down due to health issues)
  2. Vice Chair Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, Director of the Department of Public Health and Wellness (Current chair)
  3. Darrell Aniton, Louisville Metro Office of Youth Development
  4. Merv Aubespin, retired Courier-Journal editor and author
  5. Reverend Pedro Basden, Quinn Chapel AME
  6. Col. Kenton Buckner, LMPD
  7. Dr. Kevin Cosby, pastor of St. Stephen’s Church
  8. Bob Cunningham, civil rights leader
  9. Raoul Cunningham, President of Louisville NAACP
  10. Ralph De Chabert, Diversity Director for Brown Forman Corporation and Chair of Ali Center Board
  11. Christopher 2X, community activist
  12. Judge Sean Delahanty, District Court Judge
  13. Waymon Eddings, Chair for the Parkland Community Advisory Board
  14. Judge Brian Edwards, Circuit Court Judge
  15. Tad Hughes, University of Louisville Southern Police Institute
  16. Dana Jackson-Thompson, Executive Director for Network Center for Community Change
  17. Councilman David James, who represents Old Louisville and parts of west Louisville
  18. Rev. Vincent James, Elim Baptist Church, located in the Parkland Neighborhood
  19. Dr. Ricky Jones, University of Louisville, Department of Pan African Studies
  20. Eleanor Jordan, President of the Parkland Neighborhood Improvement Association
  21. James Leavell, Urban League, Reentry Programming
  22. Dr. Renee Mapp, Executive Director for Wesley House Community Services
  23. John Marshall, JCPS Diversity Director
  24. Rhonda Mathis, Community Activist
  25. State Rep. Darryl Owens
  26. Troy Pitcock, Louisville Metro Police Foundation
  27. Neal Robertson, community and neighborhood leader
  28. Christina Shadle, Greater Louisville Inc.
  29. Councilman David Tandy, who represents downtown and parts of west Louisville
  30. Steve Tarver, President and CEO of YMCA Greater Louisville
  31. Sam Watkins, President of Louisville Central Community Centers
  32. Lavel White, Connected Voices youth leader
  33. Richard Whitlock, Getting All People
  34. Jack Will, Executive Director for Jefferson County League of Cities
  35. Aubrey Williams, Sr., attorney
  36. Sylvia Wright, Shawnee Weed & Seed
  37. Dr. Tony Zipple, President & CEO of Seven Counties Services

Louisville has already trained 60 people for a planned crisis response team, but the members still lack certification. Louisville Metro Police recently created a VIPER Unit intended to address the city's worst criminals. Chief Steve Conrad said that by arresting those worst offenders, communities will be able to change crime in their communities.WFPL's Devin Katayamais at the news conference, and we'll bring you more as it becomes available.

Joseph Lord is the online managing editor for WFPL.

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