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CMPD Officials Unveil New Crime Initiative

Gwendolyn Glenn
Ella Williams, president of the Hidden Valley Community Association

CMPD unveiled an initiative in the Hidden Valley community Wednesday that they predict will lead to a reduction in crime in that area. The gangs of the past are gone from the neighborhood but it still has significant crime problems. A major component of the new pilot program involves providing assistance to needy families.

The initiative takes a more holistic approach to reducing crime in the community instead of putting more officers on the streets of Hidden Valley. Select families in the area will be given services that they need, through a host of local agencies and non-profit groups who have signed on to help. Support could range from health and financial needs to housing and employment assistance. Laura Casoni, a vice president with Goodwill, one of the initiative’s partners explains how it will work.

“So families and individuals actually have a coach that works with them as a dedicated resource, as well as an individual that really focuses on a family’s kind of basic needs—food, shelter, transportation, those things that are really required to help a family get to a job, start to stabilize their life so they can move forward,” Casoni said.

So far six families have been identified to receive assistance says Hidden Valley Community Association President Ella Williams.

“One family we identified lived in a hotel—a family of six for five years. So if we take the approach that we will work with the whole family, it will definitely make for a stronger community,” Williams said.

CMPD Chief Kerr Putney says his department will facilitate an initial community meeting so residents can meet the initiative’s partners and figure out a structure for the program. But he says it will be community leaders and not CMPD who will run it.