City leaders to use former criminals to stop violence - WDRB 41 Louisville News

City leaders to use former criminals to stop violence

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- They were once part of the problem but are now being used to help stop the violence in west Louisville. 

Red dots on a map are used by Metro Police to mark and count the number of shootings and homicides in the city. Most of the dots are concentrated in west Louisville.

"Part of what we want to do is to start a dialogue with the people who might be shooters, who might would be people who would pick violence as a first choice," said Dr. Eddie Woods, CEO of Life Institute.

And unlike other programs that rely only on police, this program will use people who live right here in these neighborhoods and have even been part of the problem. 

"We get a chance to information on where there might be some tensions, where there might be some bad feelings and so forth and interact prior to," said Wood.

"Our community has faced a lot of adversity over the past 30 days," said Democratic Metro Councilman David James.

Monday afternoon, with young children seated on the sidewalk nearby, members of the Metro Council, local activists and police announced the "No More Red Dots" campaign at the California Community Center. The goal is to reduce the shootings, and in some cases, police involvement.

"I believe our police officers are a vital resource in this struggle, but I also know that we can not arrest ourselves out of this particular problem," James said.

So far, city leaders have tried everything from talking to the youth to posting signs that say "stop the killing" but none of it seems to be working, and that's why this someone dangerous approach is being employed.

"You have to confront the issues head on -- that means you can't do something to avoid talking to the guy with the gun," Woods said.

Woods says talking to the guy with the gun can not only reduce violence but also help solve crimes. 

"In cases where there has been violence or someone hurt of killed even, we usually know within an hour what it was all about and who was involved in it," Woods said.

The people Woods and others are recruiting will be called Street Captains, and this approach has been used with success in the past.

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