One violent crime in Jacksonville is one too many. That was the message on Friday from Mayor Lenny Curry, Sheriff Mike Williams and City Council President Aaron Bowman.
They met at City Hall, along with other leaders and members of City Council to talk about fighting crime and violence with technology, improving communication with the community and funding local youth organizations.
Action News Jax reporter Courtney Cole attended the news conference. While she was there, Bowman gave an update on the status of the $300,000 grant request for local organizations for our youth.
He said the grant now has to go before the full council for a vote. If it passes, the money should be available by October 1.
Mayor Curry also noted that the $50,000 he committed to the cause is already available.
Bowman said they also plan to get local businesses behind the effort.
Friday, Aug. 31 marks exactly one week since a teen was shot and killed after a Raines High School football game and five days since the deadly mass shooting at the Jacksonville Landing that claimed the lives of two young men plus the shooter.
"I do not want to see another child or anyone shot down due to violence we could have prevented,” declared Bowman.
Bowman said the involvement of grassroots and faith-based organizations is vital, so they will make sure the $350,000 in grant money is available. “The KHA [Kids Hope Alliance is going to] help them understand how to be accountable, what are the metrics, what are you show, show us what you're spending the money on. They’re there to help them.” .
Sheriff Williams said they're sharpening their focus on gangs, drugs and violence in areas of town affected the most. "Using tools like Shotspotter, Nibin technology, which is our gun DNA, our upcoming Real Time Crime Center,”
Sheriff Williams said the most important tool JSO has is the relationship with the community, pointing to thousands of tips coming in over the last few weeks.
“We're also running a campaign to focus on where bad guys in the community carry guns,” Sheriff Williams added.
The sheriff calls it the driving force behind the violence we see. “Our goal is to measure our success by the lives we save in our community,” said Sheriff Williams.
Mayor Curry says the city will invest more in JFRD moving forward.
Sheriff Williams also said 200-250 body cams will also begin to roll out for JSO officers beginning late October, but it will take three years for the rollout to be completed.
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