Last week the Access and Inclusion Committee released a list of action plans that could help reduce gun violence as well as strengthen better community and police relationships.
The committee was established five years ago in efforts to encourage and foster participation among all people within the City of Utica. Also, identify gasps in communication and eliminate barriers to access.
“I think it’s important that we provide the services to families that right now feel that they’re not being listened to or heard, in parts of our city that are not where you would normally think we should be providing services or can provide services or should be a part of what we’re trying to do here.” —Tony Colón, Chairman of Access and Inclusion Committee
One of their main objectives is to develop a police athletic league, not only for recreational purposes but to learn together.
“I believe this athletic league will do many things, one of which will be the connection to a community. Certainly somewhat that we can provide mentorship, tutoring and some of the other things that quite honestly, we’re falling short as a community sometimes…”—Colón
Some other areas of focus are promoting programs to involve youth in potential public safety careers, a PSA campaign to mobilize residents against gun violence and creating new community centers and improving the existing ones.
“We need community input. This is not something that’s going to be driven by the administration top down. This is where we need grass roots support, grass roots involvement and we basically need that type of initiative or otherwise it’s not going to work.” —Colón
The committee is also coordinating an advisory group to work with the leadership of the Utica Police Department to further engage with the community and explore potential reforms.