In its determined fight against street violence, the city is embarking on a new Safe City Initiative Program that will train police officers in effective strategies to reduce street violence and eliminate drug markets through “drug market intervention.”
The city council approved a $182,217 contract with the Research Foundation of the City University of New York which runs the National Network for Safe Communities, a project of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
“That is a significant program,” said police director Jerry Speziale. He said the program will start on July 1st, 2015 with aims to tackle some of the city’s most stubborn crime problems.
A proposal submitted by the network states it will assist city police in “supporting the implementation of strategic interventions to reduce community violence and disorder.” The network created in 2009 under the direction of criminologist David M. Kennedy, whose work served as the basis for well-known Operation Ceasefire, aims to assist the city to reduce juvenile violence, robberies, and address domestic violence.
The network will assist the city in implementing Group Violence Intervention (GVI) strategies through “communication with the streets, law enforcement intelligence analysis, media and communications, support and outreach to violent offenders, police legitimacy, and racial reconciliation work between law enforcement and communities.”
City law enforcement officials will also work with other cities working with the network to learn best practices and use them to curb violence in the Silk City. Kennedy and other experts from the network will work with law enforcement for a year to implement the various strategies to curb juvenile homicide and domestic violence.
“They are going to be here working with us,” said Speziale. Kennedy, a renowned expert on urban crime, will work with city police. There are also seminars and workshops.
William Fraher, city’s police chief, who teaches at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, has recused himself from the initiative, said Police director Speziale.
Speziale said the network has experience working throughout the country assisting communities on ways to tackle violence. He the same results in the city.
“This is going to reduce violence,” he said.