CIRGV gets a full-time director; initiative solely under Dayton’s leadership now.

Today, Sean Walton, formerly the director of Youth Initiatives for Community Action Partnership, starts as the director of the Community Initiative to Reduce Gun Violence and the city’s Community Police Council. His salary will be $52,000.

“I am most excited about the fact that this is a community-driven initiative,” Walton said. “I simply serve as a bridge to improve relationships that make a community a better place to live for all.”

United Way was the administrator for CIRGV, that was started in 2008, until its contract expired in December. However, some of United Way’s leaders in the program remained under contract with the city to help with transition. Those contracts expired last week.

“The contract was with the United Way, CAP and Omega CDC,” said Catherine Crosby, executive director of Dayton’s Human Relations Council, which oversees CIRGV and CPC. “The city contracted with these organizations.”

Dayton is allocating $100,000 from the city’s general fund to help fund the program, which Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said has been instrumental in saving lives and has helped decrease violence in the city. The program also is funded by $100,000 in Dayton Police crime seizure funds and from similiar funds contributed by Trotwood Police and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

One of the reasons CIRGV did not stay under United Way is because the program needed a full-time director, Crosby said.

Tanisha Jumper, vice president of community impact for United Way, acted as CIRGV’s program director, when it was under United Way. Jumper said CIRGV was never intended to stay under United Way.

“There has always been an effort to figure out where to put it as far as longevity is concerned,” Jumper said.

The United Way will still partner with CIRGV, Jumper said.

The program has three components. The first is law enforcement, who focus enforcement efforts on chronic violent groups by sharing information across agencies and consistently responding to group-related gun violence. The second is services. “We work with other organizations to make sure that they have the resources they need to become productive citizens,” Crosby said.

CIRGV’s Street Advocates, who are employees of Omega CDC through their contract with the city, fall under the services component.

“Their role is to serve as violence interrupters or mediators in situations that can potentially become volatile. If a shooting has occurred, they seek out the victim’s friends and relatives and try to prevent a retaliatory shooting,” Crosby said. She added that they also act as a support system to those who need help changing their lifestyle.

The third component is empowering the community to serve as the moral voice and set expectations for non-violent behavior. A separate initiative, the Community Police Council assists in this process. The mission of CPC is to improve community-police relations and the council includes representatives of neighborhoods, businesses, churches, community agencies, youth groups, law enforcement and local government.

“The community has to understand that the community also includes law enforcement and our citizens. We all make up the community,” Crosby said. “As a community, we need to figure out how to create safe neighborhoods.”

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