On June 23, President Joe Biden announced a comprehensive strategy to ensure public safety. To implement his strategy, the president proposed making available federal law enforcement officials to work with local police departments to target violent criminals and “keep guns out of the wrong hands.” “.
Additionally, to tackle the root causes of crime, the Biden administration will partner with 15 cities, including Baton Rouge, to create community violence response (CVI) programs. This collaboration will include a number of philanthropies, which will provide training and technical assistance to identify best practices, integrating proven and innovative public health approaches.
The Biden administration will also provide tools and resources to help tackle violent crime in the summer; investing in evidence-based community violence interventions; expand summer programs, employment opportunities and other services and supports for adolescents and young adults; and helping formerly incarcerated people successfully reintegrate into their communities.
While New Orleans isn’t one of the 15 cities in the CVI Collaborative, it’s not too late for the city to take action.
Biden “calls on mayors across the country to follow the lead of these local leaders in using their American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding or other public funds to launch and strengthen CVI programs in their communities.”
The administration will allow ARP funding to pay overtime for community policing and community anti-violence groups. More importantly for us in New Orleans, cities with high crime rates will be able to hire more police officers than before the pandemic. ARP money can also be used for summer jobs and organizations that reach out to children before they commit a crime.
Baton Rouge is one of the smaller towns in Biden’s criminal plan. Its homicide rate is among the highest
Biden also opened applications for the Department of Justice’s $ 276 million Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program for FY21, which provides critical support to local governments. By soliciting grant applications for this program, the ministry recognizes the importance of addressing the backlog of cases caused by COVID-19. The DOJ made it clear that the funding could also be used to facilitate virtual appearances, improve case management systems, create tools to support diversion and alternatives to incarceration, or even modernize courthouses to mitigate risks to personnel.
In New Orleans, we have an award-winning re-entry court, veterans treatment court, mental health court, drug courts, and organizations such as First 72+ and Workforce Development to form the basis of a CVI.
But this can only happen if the mayor, city council, district attorney, public defender’s office, police department, sheriff, judges, mental health professionals, addiction experts, education officials, businesses, religious communities and citizens create a holistic public safety policy, with benchmarks and performance measures.
This is what we can do now to fight, reduce and prevent crime.
In an all-level approach, the chief, deputy chiefs, and senior and low-ranking officers (with the exception of those working in the Homicide Unit, Criminal Laboratories and Evidence Division, Office of the Public Integrity, Recruitment and Enforcement Unit, Bureau of Standards and Accountability and Police Academy) should deploy to patrol the streets for immediate impact. This will send a message to the criminals, support the district officers and reassure the community.
Let’s be clear, this deployment of more police can only be a temporary dressing. We cannot stop our way out of the problem. Opening the prison door, without mental health and drug addiction treatment, is not the only answer either.
We also need to offer universal early childhood learning, summer camps in neighborhood public schools, and a skilled jobs training center to encourage businesses to relocate to New Orleans.
If we provide effective mental health and substance abuse treatment for non-violent offenders and opportunities for our children from infancy to early adulthood, we will save people, improve educational outcomes, increase economic opportunities. and reduce and prevent crime.
Ron Faucheux: The public places crime at the top of the list of problems of the election year
We don’t have to live like this. We’ve seen the headlines and the news. Our children and too many others have felt the pain, the sting and the loss of a violent crime.
Robert Kennedy once said: “There are those who look at it as it is and ask why. … I dream of things that never existed and I ask why not.
If our leaders lead and join with us, we can become this “City on the Hill”.
Former judge Arthur L. Hunter Jr. was a New Orleans police officer. He served in the District Criminal Court as the Chief Justice and Judge of the Mental Health Court, the Readmission Court and the Veterans Treatment Court.