COLUMBIA — In an effort to address violence in the community, Mayor Bob McDavid named 13 members to the anti-violence task force formed Monday evening.
The Mayor's Task Force on Community Violence, which was created in response to a series of violent incidents that have plagued Columbia this summer, including a shooting at Tenth Street and Broadway and the murder of a 17-year old male in McKee Park, was officially formed at Monday's meeting of the Columbia City Council.
The resolution to form that task force was approved by every council member present. Fourth Ward Councilman Ian Thomas was not in attendance.
McDavid said at a press conference Monday morning he expects there will be opportunities for the public to provide input as the task force hears presentations on a variety of issues.
"It's a community conversation," McDavid said. "We're going to solve this as a community, or we're going to fail as a community."
The task force is expected to address topics that include, among others, early childhood strategies, role model mentoring programs, alternative activities, curfew effectiveness, prior offender re-entry programs and youth engagement, according to city documents.
Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser, who is a co-moderator of the task force along with Second Ward Councilman Michael Trapp, said the group will focus on topics under the categories of prevention, intervention, enforcement and re-entry.
The task force is expected to make recommendations to the council by Nov. 15, 2014.
The following people were selected as task-force members:
- Tyree Byndom — A radio co-host on KOPN, Byndom was recently awarded a Columbia Values Diversity Celebration award for promoting diversity and cultural understanding.
- Steve Calloway — A former vice president of the Columbia School Board and current president of the Minority Men's Network.
- Chris Campbell — Co-founder of the Tree Top Innovative Learning Center.
- Cindy Garrett — Juvenile officer for the 13th Circuit Court.
- Dan Hanneken — Director of In2Action, a Christian-based organization that helps released criminal offenders find housing and employment.
- Pamela Hardin — Vice president of the Missouri NAACP.
- Mike Hayes — Retired Columbia police officer and board member of PRIDE of Mid-Missouri.
- Christopher Haynes — A case manager for Phoenix Programs Inc., which provides treatment and counseling for people dealing with alcohol or substance abuse.
- Bishop Lorenzo Lawson — Co-founder of Chosen Generation Ministries and board member for P.R.I.D.E of Mid Missouri.
- Paul Prevo — Co-owner of Tiger Tots Child Development Center and Academy of Early Learning.
- Glenn Robertson
- Jerry Taylor — CEO of MFA Oil. McDavid said at a news conference Monday that Taylor was added to the task force because of his prior experience with minority recruitment and his work as a board member of the Youth Empowerment Zone.
David Thomas — In an interview prior to the council meeting, McDavid said Thomas is a retired school administrator from St. Louis. Thomas also is currently a member of the city's Airport Advisory Board.
Prior to the task force's approval, several members of the public provided suggestions for the course of the new group.
Mary Ratliff, president of the Missouri NAACP, suggested the task force be sure to focus on issues beyond those that affected youth, as several recent major crimes were committed by individuals who were not minors.
Natalie Hampton of Columbia supported the task force's plan to look at re-entry options for released criminals.
"Certainly unemployment is one of the biggest contributors of violence in the community," Hampton said.
John Clark of Columbia spoke in favor of McDavid's proposal to add a ballot measure for a 20-cent property tax increase to cover the costs of hiring 35 additional officers for the Columbia Police Department.
"A task force would not get very far without adequate funding for community-policing-based public safety law enforcement," Clark said.
Trapp said he will meet with Nauser later this week to work on the agenda for the first meeting and the task force will meet "no sooner than a couple of weeks."
Supervising editor is Jake Kreinberg.