SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - As the city grapples with the staggering rise in deadly crime, law enforcement prepares to roll out the first phase of an anti-gun, anti-gang and group violence initiative.
"The thing is, we need for gun violence to stop. Stop the killing," said Dr. Maxine Bryant, program manager of End Gun Violence: Step Forward.
Holding three degrees in criminal justice, and numerous leadership positions in several communities with programs aimed at curbing gun and gang violence, Dr. Bryant has the chops the cut violent crime. And the city has selected her to lead the way on of the most significant anti-crime initiatives ever. For the first time, we're hearing from Bryant about her new role.
"Savannah is my home. I love this city. It's a beautiful city, and we want to keep it beautiful, not only in terms of how it looks, but how it feels. That means it has to feel safe," said Dr. Bryant.
Bryant was one of the local delegation to go to New York City to learn about the End Gun Violence program, and how it can be implemented in Savannah. A big part of End Gun Violence is giving those heading into a life of violent crime a chance to turn back.
"Too often we ask the question, what's wrong with you, instead of asking the question, what has happened to you and how can we work together to change some things around with you," said Dr. Bryant.
Dr. Bryant will be coordinating the relationship between law enforcement and community partners brought on board to assist would-be repeat offenders who want to change their lives for the better.
"We've identified Build-A-Bridge as one of our lead agencies to work in this initiative. We're also going to be working with Solidarity in Savannah, and with Savannah Youth City. We want to work with individuals in the community, with organizations that have a track record of success, and working with the very same target population that we're going after," said Dr. Bryant.
Dr. Bryant says one of the things she'll be doing soon is going to neighborhood meetings to talk with people about End Gun Violence, and to hear issues first hand.