Two teens applied to lead Jacksonville's new crime task force

Two people who applied to be chair of Jacksonville's new Task Force on Safety and Crime Reduction carry not briefcases, not badges, but backpacks.

First Coast High School junior Mia Allen and Robert E. Lee High School sophomore Brandon Griggs turned in their applications to the city last week.

Allen, 17, said crime is distracting Jacksonville teens from their education and she’s had enough.

“You can’t go home and study when there are gunshots going on outside your neighborhood or your house. And you can’t really focus on school. And then places where – if crime has affected your parents, you know, they treat you differently,” Allen said.

Brandon, 14, said crime reduction efforts must be led by people who live in crime-affected neighborhoods.

“If you’re not involving the people that are actually dealing with the issues and are actually facing these problems, then nothing’s going to change. So, you can’t just put people who’ve never dealt with them in place to represent the people that are dealing with the issues,” Brandon said.

Mayor Lenny Curry said teens will be an important part of the task force.

“I think they’re going to be a tremendous asset, a strong voice,” Curry said.

Both teens are on the Mayor’s Young Leaders Advisory Council.

Action News Jax reported Tuesday that a committee of four council members nominated Pastor Mark Griffin to become chair.

Griffin still needs to be confirmed by the full council.

In the meantime, Allen and Brandon’s applications are being rolled over into membership applications.

On Thursday, the city council pushed back the deadline to apply for membership positions on the task force for the second time.

The new deadline is 5 p.m. Nov. 9.