Shelby County Commission coming up with strategies to stop gun violence

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Gun violence is a recurring problem across Shelby County and now, the county commission is taking another step to try to intervene.

The next step will be part of Monday’s commission meeting.

Just this weekend, there were two people shot here on Marianna Street.

One victim was noncritical, but the other remains in the hospital in critical condition tonight.

It’s these acts of gun violence that the Shelby County Commission plans to vote on tomorrow in an effort to intervene before the gun is fired.

“Gun violence is typically the final tipping point,” said K. Durell Cowan, founder of Heal 901.

Violence prevention is a topic heard about by Memphis leaders as gun violence continues at an alarming rate across the city.

For Cowan, having programs with trained professionals who can start this education early is the key.

“I think that we have to understand when you’re talking about intervention, what this is, is someone sees that you’re at a place where you can’t help yourself and we want to help. I think that we need to change the way that we use the word,” Cowan said.

If approved, Cowan’s organization is just one that will get a cut of more than $600,000 in a contract that will last until Jun. of 2023.

The other $100,000 would be part of a contract with Cure Violence Global.

Cowan said, “We’re just glad that the county is starting to send funds to these organizations that are doing the work and allowing us to be a partner when the funds are available.”

Tameka Daniel Greer with Memphis Artists for Change says she’s glad to see the item up for a vote in commission chambers, but this should not be where the violence prevention conversation ends.

“The fact that it’s on the agenda is commendable, but I hope to see a serious desire to suggest in supportive services long-term,” she said.

Greer said topics like food insecurity and mental health also need to be addressed.

“This didn’t happen overnight. It looks very familiar, starting to feel much like the 60′s in our cities. So if we know that these problems have continually repeated themselves, we need to create some kind of intervention and prevention that is long-term,” said Greer.

The public can expect to hear this on Monday’s commission consent agenda.