City leaders hope programs will help curb violence during long, hot summer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Local police are going to war on gangs and drugs, a plan that includes LMPD, Kentucky State Police and several federal agencies.

Right now, they are not releasing many details, but the mission is twofold, and some city leaders believe it will save lives.

"2016 has to go down as one of the most unfortunate years that was impacted by violent shootings," said Christopher 2X with Hood 2 Hood, an anti-violence group.

From a record breaking number of homicides to a drug epidemic that has claimed 269 lives, some would consider 2016 a tragic year in Louisville.

"The overdose numbers are probably going to be double what they were in 2015," said Priscilla McIntosh, CEO of The Morton Center.

The Morton Center treats people in recovery and family members. McIntosh said something has to be done about drug epidemic or it could get worse.

"It's impacting the lives of the citizens of this community in a very significant way," said Metro Councilman David James.

Police believe a lot of the violence and ODs are connected to the same source.

"It is a combination of gangs and drugs," James said. "Thirty to 40 percent of all of our shootings are gang-related."

And now the problem has the attention of the most powerful law enforcement agencies in Kentuckiana, including the FBI and LMPD.

James said said the newly formed task force will specifically target gangs and drugs.

"The ultimate goal is that we suppress gang activity and reduce the number of shootings and homicides in our community," he said.

Christopher 2X's group is also holding a rap session on Thursday to talk about some of the same issues. He said there's already concern about the new task force.

"They think there might be unfair profiling connected to it," he said.

James said the task force should be ready to start work by the end of the month.

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