SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — There’s pressure at City Hall to change the way Sacramento thinks about — and funds — public safety by implementing youth-centered preventive services in a whole new way.
It comes nearly two weeks after gang violence led to the worst mass shooting in Sacramento history.
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Calls for more investment in these prevention programs have come from all corners of our community since the April 3 shooting, and now a member of city council wants to put them under the same “public safety umbrella” as the police, fire and emergency services.
“It’s about looking broadly and holistically at who we are as a city,” said council member Jay Schenirer.
And who we are as a city needs to change, according to Schenirer.
“Anytime you want to do something for firefighters, police or emergency services, you have to do something proportionate for young people,” he said.
Schenirer is pushing to revisit a resolution passed two years ago to add youth-centered prevention services to traditional public safety, meaning fire, police and emergency services. But that’s not all.
“So if we increase policing by 5%, we should also increase youth programs by 5%,” Schenirer said.
This money would come from the city’s general fund.
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It would also mark a change, according to Mervin Brookins, that was long overdue. He is the CEO of Brother 2 Brother, a local mentoring program.
“It gives value to the work we do,” he said. “And where there is value, there is respect.”
And if that respect comes with more resources, Brookins thinks it could prevent tragedies like the one we saw unfold downtown nearly two weeks ago.
“It would allow us to reach more young people, involve them in more resources, give them more experiences,” he said. “That would be a lot.”
But what exactly do we mean by a youth-focused prevention service? These details still need to be worked out.
“It could be after-school programs. It may be a pop-up. It could be training the workforce so that young people can find jobs,” Schenirer said.
As Schenirer prepares for some opposition, Brookins hopes the city has reached a turning point.
“I think this is the moment where we have to meet the moment,” Brookins said.
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Schenirer wants the city to act quickly on this and have new funds for youth services for the next budget year that begins in July.