Council Invests in First Round of Reimagining Safety
$1.5Million Allocation from Reimagining Safety Fund Seeks to Prevent Violence
and Rebuild Police-Community Trust
[COLUMBUS, OH] After more than 22 hours of public hearings, multiple town halls, and focus groups, more than 4,000 survey responses and robust debates, Columbus City Council tonight passed seven ordinances adding up to a $1.5 million investment toward reimagining safety. The investments will support victims of domestic violence, support Police Officer aid training as part of the implementation of Andre’s Law, support youth soccer on the Hilltop, provide workforce training and job placement for justice-involved residents and more.
“We have listened to the community, local and national experts to align their needs and desires with evidence-based solutions,” said Council President Shannon G. Hardin. “The violence afflicting our neighborhoods won’t be stopped overnight. It requires continuous effort and community partnerships to usher in a safer City.”
Ordinances 0761-2021, 0890-2021, 0869-2021, 0888-2021, 0891-2021, 0892-2021 and 0893-2021 are the first collection of ordinances to allocate from the $10 million Reimagine Safety fund created by Council. During the 2021 Operation Budget process, Council specified this fund's creation to help the City identify the root causes of violence and develop long-term sustainable strategies to address issues.
“Residents told us what they wanted to fund,” Hardin continued. “Now, Council’s working to implement the vision set forward by residents.”
David Kennedy, executive director of the National Network for Safe Communities at John Jay College of Criminal Justice New York, NY, is one of the contract partners. Kennedy, a criminologist, will assist the City in implementing the Safe Communities group violence intervention strategy. The internationally recognized program is a proven, evidence-based, life-saving violence reduction model. Working with a small number of chronic violent offenders, Kennedy utilizes strategies and outreach resources to protect the most vulnerable people in the most vulnerable places.
“The David Kennedy National Network for Safe Communities program has been successful in reducing violence in other communities,” said Councilmember Mitchell J. Brown. “We are looking for similar results here in Columbus.”
The Kennedy program received $195,000.
Local community leader Sean Stevenson will continue working with residents to affect change through his non-profit Elements of Change. The street-level, grassroots organization works to create safe spaces in Columbus inner-city neighborhoods. His mindset is meeting people where they build stronger communities. The organization received $500,000 to create anti-violence programming.
Council solicited additional community organizations for youth engagement, workforce, and anti-violence proposals. Council held a community hearing to hear directly from local non-profits on March 30. Grants based on those proposals will be advanced for a planned vote at Council’s meeting on April 19, 2021.
Reimagining Safety April 5, 2021Investments:
- Wedgewood Soccer
Ordinance 0890-2021 enters into a grant agreement with MY Project USA to support the Wedgewood youth soccer program. ($75,000.00)
- National Network for Safe Communities
Ordinance 0761-2021 authorizes the Department of Public Safety to modify a contract with The Research Foundation of the City University of New York on behalf of Criminologist David Kennedy and the National Network for Safe Communities at John Jay College to assist the City in serious violence prevention. ($195,000.00)
- First Aid Training – Andre’s Law
Ordinance 0869-2021 authorizes first aid training for the Columbus Division of Police in accordance with Andre's Law. ($112,891.00)
- Anti-Violence Work with Elements of Change
Ordinance 0888-2021 enters into a grant agreement with Elements of Change for community violence intervention services. ($500,000.00)
- Teens and Police Service Partners Mentorship Program
Ordinance 0891-2021 authorizes the appropriation of $225,000 for the Teens and Police Service Partners (TAPS) Academy mentorship program. ($225,000.00)
- Alvis Reentry Workforce Training
Ordinance 0892-2021 enters into a grant agreement with Alvis 180 to support the Help in Reentry Employment program. ($250,000.00)
- LSS Choices - Domestic Violence Shelter
Ordinance 0893-2021 enters into a grant agreement with Lutheran Social Services in support of CHOICES for Victims of Domestic Violence. ($50,000.00)