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U.S. Attorney Seeks Solutions To Louisville Violence With Summit

Police caution tape
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A 17-year-old has been charged as an adult for attempted murder after police say he fired shots at Clarksville Police Chief Mark Palmer's home in September.

U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman is looking for more ways to fight violent crime in Louisville, and he hopes an upcoming summit with local leaders will offer some solutions. 

Coleman said his Louisville office has partly addressed crime by prosecuting more drug dealers and people who use guns illegally. But he said law enforcement cannot deter violence alone.

That’s why he’s invited local faith and business leaders to a private summit he’s organized for next week.

“Often times, the role of the U.S. attorney certainly is a very aggressive law enforcement posture, but it’s also getting people around the table figuratively and literally,” Coleman said in an interview with WFPL News. “I’m hoping to build some linkages, build some engagement, build the ability to scale up some of the solutions – to talk about some of the solutions so that we can have a substantive impact.”

Summit attendees will hear from crime victims and John Jay College of Criminal Justice professor David Kennedy. Kennedy will speak about the focused deterrence model of policing, which offers potential offenders incentives and resources if they avoid reoffending. 

Coleman first announced the summit last November after the release of a report detailing violence and trauma’s effect on Louisville youth. Kentucky youth experience trauma at a higher rate than the national average, and that trauma, sometimes caused by neighborhood violence, is linked to long-term issues with emotional health and behavior in school. Coleman said law enforcement work to reduce violence has worked, but other factors make the work difficult.

“We’re dealing with issues of systemic racism … We’re dealing with issues of long-standing, fractured relationships. This stuff is hard,” Coleman said. “If we want the city to move forward and families to flourish, we have to take responsibility for the fact that there are large sectors of this city that have had limited opportunity afforded [to] those residents.”

The Violent Crimes Summit will be held January 23. A representative from Coleman’s office said it will be closed to the public and media, so that attendees will speak freely.

Kyeland Jackson is an Associate Producer for WFPL News.