First Community Violence Task Force Meeting Set for Tonight

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COLUMBIA - The first of several meetings of the Mayor's Task Force on Community Violence will be 5:30 Wednesday at the Mezzanine in City Hall. Mayor Bob McDavid proposed the task force and the city council approved earlier this month. The task force is co-chaired by Second Ward Councilman Michael Trapp and Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser and has 13 community members on the rolls. 

The goal of the task force is to find long-term solutions to violence in Columbia and will submit a report to the City Council by November 15, 2014. 

More specifically the task force will look into: 

-Early childhood strategies
-Role model mentoring programs
-Alternative activities
-Curfew effectiveness
-Prior offense re-entry programs
-Youth engagement

The creation of the task force comes after a violent summer in Columbia. Since May 12, there have been three homicides and 13 shootings inside Columbia's city limits. 

Tyree Byndom is one of the 13 community members serving on the task force and he said the task force will have to tackle some tough questions.

"It's a lot of work," said Byndom. "It's answering questions and having conversations that we haven't had."

He looks forward to finding ways to help Columbia youth find alternatives other than violence.

"Now we can have this conversation togerther to figure out and not to point a figure at thugs or crime or gangs," said Byndom. "But to see the reality of our community. Anybody that goes to jail is coming right back to this community. We have a chance to be a leader in this country to find solutions and to come together as a community. Really, the sky is the limit."

Other community members serving in the task force along with Byndom are: Steve Calloway, Chris Campbell, Cindy Garrett, Dan Hanneken, Pam Hardin, Mike Hayes, Christopher Haynes, Lorenzo Lawson, Paul Prevo, Glen Robertson, Jerry Taylor and David Thomas.

For a look at Wednesday night's meeting agenda, click here.