COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Columbus continues working to reduce and prevent violence across the city.
On Tuesday, Columbus City Council’s Public Safety Committee heard from key violence reduction programs and other community partners, programs that help police positively interact with the community, get kids involved in after-school activities, and help people heal from trauma.
“Everybody deserves the right to feel safe in this community,” Chair of the Public Safety Committee Councilmember Emmanuel Remy said.
The Columbus Division of Police Dialogue Team was one of the programs that spoke at the meeting. This team helps people navigate their First Amendment rights at protests and rallies.
“We’ve changed from a linear mob theory, old school way, 100-year-old philosophy of crowd management America and what we hope to do is engage into this new theory that engages society and empowers our community,” Columbus Police Cmd. Duane Mabry said.
The program has grown from a team of two to more than 50, and the department hopes the program becomes a model for other departments across the country.
“We hope to do right by our city and we hope to build legitimacy in the community, and we hope they see that the work we’re doing is for them,” Mabry said.
Other programs focus on reducing group and individual violence. The Columbus Violence Reduction Program has helped more than 50 people since April, and 43 of those people have stayed out of prison.
“The goal of the program is to keep people safe, alive and out of prison, and so those are really our outcomes,” Columbus Violence Reduction Director Molly Robbins said. “Really, we’re asking people to put the guns down and stop perpetuating or being involved in violence.”
Community partners such as Moms of Murdered Columbus Children and Columbus Humane also spoke about ways they are helping to reduce violence.
“We want to hear results,” Remy said. “We want to hear the impact that they’re making. We’ll be working with the administration to outline, you know, what grant opportunities are available for these organizations.”
Each of these programs is asking for continued funding as the budget discussion season starts with the goal to continue growing.