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Savannah Police adopt violence interrupter model

Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 5:52 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 6, 2022 at 10:45 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Savannah Police could soon have a new resource to help them get ahead of instances of gun violence like we’ve seen in the new year.

And it comes in the form of a violence interrupter program called Cure Violence Global.

Savannah Police Chief Roy Minter told WTOC the decision to partner with Cure Violence Global came after about a year of looking at the program’s results in other cities, and having CVG reps actually come to Savannah to do an on-site assessment.

“We’re looking forward to seeing what type of impact and benefit this program will have in Savannah as soon as we get it up and running,” Chief Minter said.

Once the program is up and running, Minter said a community partner, likely a nonprofit, will be selected to handle the local management of the Cure Violence Global initiative and training of what are called violence interrupters.

“These are individuals who are known in that community, are respected in those communities, and can actually have what we call those tough conversations or those crucial conversations with people in the community who may need some assistance or guidance…” Minter explained.

Chief Minter said violence interrupters will be a trusted bridge between police and those who may be going down a path of violence.

“One of the things that’s made the violence interrupter program very successful around the country is, these individuals aren’t having those conversations with law enforcement,” said Minter. He went on to say, “They’re having the conversation usually with a trusted community member or community leader who is then assisting us, sometimes with those investigations, and able to provide that information to us, but it’s not directly coming from that individual who may or may not have been involved in an incident.”

Chief Minter also said the program will include wrap around services, with a case management component, that will look at what resources might be lacking in neighborhoods where the initiative has deployed.

“It has to be more than just numbers,” the Chief said. “It has to be numbers, plus the fact that, ok, are people feeling safer in their community? Do they believe that this program is actually working, the communication part of the program, the relationship/partnership part of the program. Are all of these coming together, or do we just have a bunch of people walking around the community, that still nobody’s talking to and nobody’s interacting with...and nobody trusts?”

As for the price tag, Minter says he’s confident money allocated to the department by City Council in the 2022 budget will cover the total cost of the program. The Chief added that cost has to be reviewed and approved by Council before specifics are revealed.

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