City Council Discusses Possible Anti-Violence Task Force

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COLUMBIA - City leaders are looking to curb the recent trend of violence in Columbia by creating an anti-violence task force.

The Columbia City Council discussed the possibility of the task force during its pre-council meeting on Monday. Mayor Bob McDavid and councilwoman Laura Nauser led the discussion and said they want the force to be credible within the community. A resolution and potential vote to begin the creation of the task force will take place at the end of the city council meeting.

McDavid went on to say he hopes the task force acts with "shrewdness and sensitivity." Nauser said the task force should look for a "long-term solution" while "not ignoring immediate" needs for a solution. She has been fighting for something like this since 2008.

The task force would work for roughly 12-15 months and develop possible solutions to crime in Columbia. Initially, the force would not be permanent, but McDavid supported the idea of leaving the future of the task force open to suggestion.

Council members discussed a variety of potential task force members, including representatives from Columbia Public Schools, mentors and leaders in the Columbia community, and families. Council members, especially McDavid and Nauser, spoke about the importance of making the task force a group of people that the Columbia community will listen to and respect. McDavid also asked that the community offer suggestions as to what they hope the task force accomplishes and who should be on the force.

Councilman Ian Thomas also suggested that the task force look into the lives, histories, environments and more of those engaging in violent acts in order to better understand what is prompting their actions.

If the council passes the resolution, more discussion about the task force will happen at the August city council meeting.