High Point leaders hoping public safety committee can prevent violence in 2020

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HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Following a violent year for the city of High Point, the mayor hopes that the formation of a public safety committee will provide more support to those on the front lines.

By mid-December, there were a reported 550 violent cases that city police officers had responded to.

Out of those, 70 were committed by teenagers under 17, and one had been committed by a 10-year old.

The total number is a hundred-plus more than 2018.

“We’re all at a loss of what to do,” Mayor Wagner said. “This is a very vexing problem that we have.”

City leaders replaced the planning and development committee with another committee to focus on addressing violence.

Mayor Wagner said the committee will not be a “review board” for city police.

“The job of that committee is not going to be to look at individual cases because we’re very limited in terms of the law," Mayor Wagner said.

Instead, the four-person committee will meet regularly to discuss various ways to help police, fire officers and Community Against Violence leaders.

It will be made up of Councilman Victor Jones, Councilman Chris Williams, Councilman Tyrone Johnson and Councilman Britt Moore.

They will hear concerns and ideas from city first responders about various resources they need to prevent and reduce violent crime.

These resources can be in the form of coming up with ideas to address and review city policies or budgetary issues.

The committee will then “fine-tune” those ideas and get them passed as best they can.

When asked about specific policies, Mayor Wagner explained that nothing has been brought to his attention, and that the committee would not have its first meeting until Jan. 15.

The four councilmen are expected to be briefed on the current situation by police and fire leaders in the coming weeks.

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