Amid spike in violence, Louisville looks to citizens to be ambas - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Amid spike in violence, Louisville looks to citizens to be ambassadors for change

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Bodies lying in the street are an unfortunate and common reality in Louisville this year. We've crossed a record number of murders. 

Now the city is looking to everyday people to be ambassadors for change -- everyday people like Jimi Trowell, Jr. 

The crisp calm of a quiet day never lasts long for Trowell.

"I hear gunshots," Trowell said. "Mostly gunshots. I see people drive like a bat out of --" 

"I don't know what coming down the street," he added. "They use this as a speedway."

After 50 years in Louisville's California neighborhood, he is worn out and weary. 

"Get rid of the crime," he said. "Get rid of the trash. These old houses -- nobody has lived in them, and they need to be boarded up...and I'm tired of hearing gunshots every night."

The One Love Louisville Ambassadors Program marks the latest effort to cut crime from the city's Safe & Healthy Neighborhoods team. 

"We want to work with the people sitting on their porches, seeing things going on, who are frustrated and fed up with what's happening and want to find a way to be more involved in the resolution," said Safe & Healthy Neighborhoods Director Rashaad Abdur-Rahman.

The goal is to recruit and train door-to-door problem solvers from every block in west Louisville.

"People are going to learn about mental health, first aid, suicide prevention, substance abuse prevention, community organizing," Abdur-Rahman said. "We know that violence begets violence and peace begets peace."

He says ambassadors can help, "by being able to recognize if someone is experiencing trauma and needs a referral, by being able to hear the red flags about someone engaged in a conflict -- there's an opportunity to get involved in that before it gets to a shooting."

Trowell says he thinks that's a good idea, but adds that, "I really don't want to be an ambassador."

And that's the real challenge in the program. 

"We don't want to say nothing," Trowell said. "I got to live here, and my family is here, and I don't want someone riding by and shooting my house up." 

Louisville has been challenged with a number of well-intentioned programs lacking participation. Still, Safe & Healthy Neighborhoods believes that -- between churches, non-profits and concerned community members -- ambassadors can be proactive and find answers before more bodies are found in the street. 

And even Trowell says that's worth a shot. 

"Something has got to be better," he said. "I mean, years ago, this used to be a nice neighborhood."

The first ambassadors meeting and training is Saturday at the California Community Center at 1600 St. Catherine Street from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. It's open to any and all. 

Copyright 2016 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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