ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – Monday marked the second meeting of Roanoke City’s task force to reduce gun violence.
Dozens came out to talk about possible solutions to the issues in the city, including the shooting that happened Sunday.
The categories the task force focused on included Safer & Healthier Neighborhoods, Coordinated City Services & Planning, Strong Community Engagement & Partnerships, and Connected & Thriving Youth, Young Adults & Families.
“It takes a lot of effort to do what you are doing here to try to iron out programs that will be successful,” Roanoke City Police Chief Tim Jones said.
Chief Jones was at the task force meeting to give a community update and present data on gun violence, such as aggravated assaults with firearms.
“Folks those are significant numbers so I think what you are doing here speaks right to what this slide indicates,” Chief Jones said, “These are people injuring one another with a firearm over many different issues.”
The majority of the meeting was spent identifying the priorities in each category for the task force to focus on.
Everyone in attendance voted on what they thought was the most important to work on.
“Especially with everything going on in the nation today I think it’s something that everyone is very concerned about,” Task Force Chair Shakira Williams said, “And so if there is a way to make Roanoke safer for everyone including myself I definitely want to jump on that opportunity.”
Williams was recommended by someone at the police department and volunteered for leadership. She said recent events, on a national and local level, make the work they’re doing timely.
“To be able to have a conversation and be able to prevent anything on the level of a mass shooting from occurring here in Roanoke, because I think it’s something that people worry about,” Williams said.
The task force will do what they can to reach the people who may need to hear their message, but who aren’t able to make it to the meetings.
They’ll accomplish that by holding more events and doing more activities to have a presence in the community.
The next meeting will be a public hearing for anyone to give their feedback in the Roanoke City Council Chambers August 22 at 7 p.m.