Friday May 25, 2012
Inventory of programs, call for crisis response
team among first priorities
Mayor Greg Fischer today announced a process to coalesce the many existing strategies for reducing violence in Western Louisville and rebuilding neglected neighborhoods, and develop them into one cohesive, comprehensive approach.
Dr. Blaine Hudson, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Louisville, will be the chair of the working group whose other members — including civic, government, religious and business leaders — will be named at a later date. The group is the first step of many to creating a vision and developing concrete action steps that will include input from citizens, especially those who live and work in Western Louisville.
“After the shootings of May 17, there has been an outpouring of support and interest from people to provide their talents toward the goal of ending violence in our city,” Fischer said. “These problems didn’t start yesterday and they won’t be solved tomorrow. However, the talented people that we will assemble will examine the problem of violence from all possible angles and develop a long-term, thoughtful strategy.”
Among the first goals will be to develop an inventory of all programs and charities that operate and provide services to youth and young adults in West Louisville to determine what is already being done. After discussion with community leaders it was determined that no comprehensive inventory of programs existed.
All groups operating these activities are being asked to provide information about their program by completing a survey that is on the city’s webpage, www.louisvilleky.gov.
The deadline to submit information to the inventory is June 15th.
Churches, charities, non-profits and businesses that have programs in Western Louisville are urged to fill out the form to ensure that the inventory is comprehensive. Members of the working group will follow up with the organizations at a later date.
The second immediate step is for Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, director of the city’s Public Health and Wellness Department, to examine the potential for a Crisis Response Team comprised of professionals that would be dispatched to violent crime scenes to help victims better cope with their emotions. The team, on call 24 hours a day, would work to diffuse situations while police are doing their investigations and would help people talk over their grief and concerns.
Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad said such a team may have been helpful last week in Parkland. After a double murder occurred in the neighborhood, a woman who was upset that a friend had been killed pulled a gun near the scene and murdered another woman. Crisis Response Teams are used in other cities to ensure that actions like that don’t occur while police conduct their investigations.
Dr. Nesbitt said some people haven’t learned coping skills to deal with emotions and they resort to more violence as a way to deal with a crisis.
“The recent violence is as much about public health – and mental health in particular – as it is about crime,” she said. “Some crime victims simply don’t know how to cope.”
Numerous citizens and organizations have approached city leaders in recent days with ideas for curbing violence and helping develop a brighter future for Western Louisville.
Fischer said he will use the working group to engage those citizens and organizations.
Dr. Hudson, chair of the working group, said one of his goals is to develop plans that address root causes and longer-term solutions for the issues.