Forsyth County reveals 2020 master plan to attack gun violence

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FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. -- As a way to tackle violence in the county, Forsyth County students could begin to learn about the dangers of violence in school.

A curriculum has been proposed to be added to health class for seventh graders. It is just one of the many initiatives attached to the county’s plan to curb violence in the community.

On Tuesday, Winston-Salem police, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. District Attorney drug task force, and Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines held a joint news conference.

They revealed their 2020 master plan for the community.

It includes embracing new technology, more communication between the various agencies, targeting gangs and those they look to recruit, and showering students with hope for their futures.

“Between August and December we lost three children out of schools,” Chief Catrina Thompson said during the conference. “It’s time to end that ... I will not allow you to terrorize the children in our communities.”

The 2019 year brought an increase in gun violence and violent crimes in Winston-Salem.

169 teenagers, all under 18, were arrested. More than 30 were in middle school, while six were in elementary school.

“A child without hope is a child living in danger,” she said.

To give students hope, it’s been proposed to allow school resource officers and teachers to talk about the healthy expression of emotions, mental health and healthy behavior. This will be done during health class for seventh grade students.

Click here for the full proposal

Officers will also talk about the punishment for impulse behavior.

“We’re on top of bubbling little problems before somebody is using a weapon on another student,” U.S. District Attorney Jim O’Neill said. He wants to see better communication between schools and the SROs assigned to their campus.

He explained that the city is among the safest in the state, but that gang violence has risen in the last year.

Six of the 31 homicides were directly linked to gangs in 2019.

He said that by establishing communication and bringing the conversations to students, it will stop them before getting into that lifestyle.

“Explain to the kids the dangers of associating themselves with gangs,” he said.

In 2020, parents are encouraged to adopt a school and make attempts to show them that there is always hope in their future.

Thompson said, “as parents, as community leaders, as police, we are the biggest gang in this town. we need to take charge and of instilling hope in our children.”

When it comes to new technology, the city police department will begin to use new acoustic technology to detect guns being fired and where.

The technology will be stationed at a location in the city, that has not been disclosed. It will allow officers to respond in real-time.

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