With Kansas City homicides spiking in 2015 and 2016 already off to a deadly start, Kansas City Councilwoman Jolie Justus announced on Sunday that the Citizens Task Force on Violence would hold its first monthly meeting Jan. 12.
That Justus would announce the meeting on a Sunday suggested that the administration of Mayor Sly James wanted to signal movement on an issue that is of increasing concern.
James appointed task force members.
The meeting will be from 6-8 p.m. at Gregg-Klice Community Center, 1600 John "Buck" O'Neil Way (East 17th Terrace and The Paseo near the 18th & Vine Jazz District), Justus said.
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“We’ve done some preliminary research and internally outlined some ideas on how to organize our work,” Justus said. “The first task force meeting will discuss structure and action items and explain how we intend to engage any Kansas Citian interested in the topic.”
Kansas City already has experienced two homicides in the first three days of 2016 following a year that saw 109 murders, the most in four years.
Justus stressed that all citizens are invited to be part of the committee’s work. Persons can contact the group by sending correspondence to Councilwoman Jolie Justus, City Hall, 22nd Floor, 414 E. 12th St., Kansas City, MO, 64106. An email address and public comment site will be made public this month.
“We definitely plan to take public testimony so anyone will have the opportunity to share information, views or feelings,” Justus said.
The task force’s mission is to gather facts and data and recommend policies and best practices for how Kansas City can prevent violence. The committee’s work is hardly the first of its kind in recent KC history.
The task force plans to issue recommendations by November.