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National Report Released and Local Solutions Being Developed
Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton was one of the national policy, subject matter, and boots on the ground leaders contributing to a new report, Toward a Fair and Just Response to Gun Violence, released by the Joyce Foundation this Tuesday June 28, 2022 https://assets.joycefdn.org/content/uploads/Toward-a-Fair-and-Just-Response-to-Gun-Violence-II.pdf . This major report is the culmination of a multi-year effort led by the Joyce Foundation bringing together a broad spectrum of experts from across the country to work on solutions to the gun violence plaguing so many of our communities. Sheriff Clayton is a strong advocate for the solutions put forth in the report and also co-authored an Op-ed which appeared in the Chicago Sun Times on June 27, 2022 Investing in just practices will improve public safety - Chicago Sun-Times (suntimes.com). In the Op-ed Sheriff Clayton notes, “It’s probably the most complicated public safety question we’re currently facing: Reducing the devastating toll of gun violence and limiting the proliferation of illegal guns, without undermining the already-fraught relationship between police and communities of color or further contributing to mass incarceration.”
Sheriff Clayton hopes to integrate the approaches put forth in the report and in his Op-ed with national best practices and work done here locally by a Community Violence Intervention Team (CVIT) which recently released recommendations. Sheriff Clayton states emphatically. “We have lost too many young people, specifically young men, to senseless violence here in Washtenaw County. These are our children. We can and we must do better for them and for the families and neighborhoods where this violence occurs, perpetuating generational trauma, impeding community investment, and obstructing equal opportunity.”
The report and the Op-ed emphasize three main approaches which include immediate, mid-term and long-term solutions. Reducing the supply of illegal guns. Focusing law enforcement resources on those specific areas and people who are actively engaged in gun violence and are a threat to others. Engaging and working with our communities to develop community-based responses which address the long-term root causes and provide proven prevention solutions to the poverty, racism, education and employment challenges, trauma and hopelessness that drive violence over time. In Washtenaw County, the community-based responses recommended by the CVIT which have been adopted by the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners include:
1 – Set a clear goal: commit to saving lives by stopping violence
2 – Identify key people and places driving violence
3 – Create a plan for engaging key people and places
4 – Engage key people with empathy and accountability
5 – Address key locations using place-based policing and investment
6 – Place responsibility for violence reduction efforts at the top
7 – Emphasize healing with trauma-informed approaches
8 – Invest in anti-violence workforce development
9 – Set aside funding for new stakeholders and strategies
10 – Create the Washtenaw County Violence Commission
11 – Build a community center in eastern Washtenaw County
12 – Build community mural/safe grieving community space
13 – Establish grief and loss community response protocol for violent deaths
14 – Establish Communication Alert System
Sheriff Clayton stated that he and the WCSO will continue to engage and work in partnership with the community to co-create community safety and wellness as we commit to improving the quality of life across Washtenaw County in a fair and equitable way. He urges those who want to be a part of the solution to contact Director of Community Engagement Derrick Jackson at [email protected].
Click HERE to view the Full CVIT Recommendations document.