Program offers option to get out of a life of crime

If you and your friends are involved in crime, police may be watching.

They may even call you in to a meeting about changing your ways, or else.

That is what happened Wednesday as the No Violence Alliance of police, prosecutors, social workers and others did their first call-ins.

They also played them a grim video made by Mike B. Rollen, who made the film “Murder Factory.”

Officials announced the call-ins Thursday at a press conference at the Downtown courthouse.

Three dozen males and two females attended the three Wednesday sessions, where they listened to people like state and federal prosecutors, the police chief and even mothers of murdered sons.

“Some people came in slouched down but before it was over, they were sitting up at attention,” said Police Chief Darryl Forte.

People involved in crime for years stood in line to talk to him, he said. “What I got out of it was the connection of law enforcement with the community.”

Service providers for things like substance abuse, GEDs, housing and other things were available to those who needed help.

Mayor Sly James said, “Not all of them will take advantage of the opportunity but if we get a few, that’s a few who won’t go down that path of crime and hopelessness.”

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker and U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson warned the call-ins that violence would be punished harshly.

“For those who want to be hard-headed,” the mayor said Thursday, “we’ve got something for that, too.”

Police intelligence work with help from University of Missouri Kansas City researchers identifies webs of associated criminals and the alliance moves against them.

Capt. Joe McHale, alliance manager, said the call-ins offer help but also a warning: “They know we have their number, they know we have their friends’ numbers.”

The ones called in will spread that message, he said, and there will be more such events as the alliance continues its effort to lower homicide and assault rates.

Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said the effort will take time.

“This has been a long road getting to this point and we have a long road ahead of us,” she said.

Comments are closed.