Westchester County Launches Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce

The new Westchester County Launches Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce
The new Westchester County Launches Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce

Westchester County Launches Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce

While gun violence is not a huge issue in Westchester County, Westchester County Executive George Latimer and Westchester County Legislator Shanae Williams recently joined forces to announce the start of the new the Westchester County Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce (WCGVPT). The new Westchester Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce will offer a way for members to collaborate and unify efforts and programs to combat gun violence. Read on to learn more about this new taskforce and what it entails.

Psst…check out Westchester County Government Requests Expanded Service to Penn Station

The Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce

During a recent press event in White Plains, Latimer signed a document about the task force. This will include 21 members, some of which are appointed by the Board of Legislators and others by Latimer.

Shanae Williams spoke about gun violence in New Rochelle during COVID when a young man shot at police officers who attempted to avoid an arrest. This happened outtside of her home, and, thankfully no one was hurt. She added, “this is a public health crisis.” In Westchester, she added “our rates are the lowest in the region.” However, she mentioned how (as NYC’s neighbors) that it is important for Westchester to hold ourselves accountable for being a part of the solution.

The task force will follow a holistic approach across all agencies. This includes Westchester counties, towns, cities, villages, and law enforcement agency.

Additionally, the gun violence prevention taskforce will work with organizations who are making strides in rooting out gun violence and foster collaboration. Additionally, the group will work to leverage each other’s resources.  The task force aims to identify and implement best practices to prevent and ultimately eliminate gun violence from Westchester County.

Hezus R, founder of S.I.C Film School also joined the press conference who spoke about changing the gun narrative and understanding the individual psychology. He noted, “gun programs in the past have failed because they focus on the gun. Additionally, he spoke about focusing on the individual to empower youth. He added, “we need to reach the hearts and minds of the youth to provide real opportunity and alternatives.”

Importance of the Task Force

“The safety and well-being of every resident in Westchester is our top priority. Through the establishment of the Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce, we are taking proactive steps to address this critical issue head-on. By bringing together diverse voices and expertise, we will develop comprehensive strategies to create safer communities for all,” Latimer noted.

Partners of the Task Force

James Nolan spoke about his family was impacted by gun violence when his brother was killed in Yonkers. He wants to collectively work with youth groups, church groups, and police groups. Additionally, Westchester County Legislator Terry Clemens spoke about approaching gun violence. She added, “establishing a gun violence violence will expand on the work we are already doing in toward preventing gun violence on our streets in our homes and schools.”

He added, “when I was in office over six years ago the first thing we did was to eliminate the gun show.” Thus, it was important to not have guns in the culture (of Westchester).

Latimer spoke about putting county money beyond existing programs as well. He signed the executive order during the conference and noted how the community could be involved.

  • Change the social conditions and address the influences that lead young people to resort to gun violence.
  • Foster collaboration across all agencies and levels of government, including county, town, village, city and law enforcement agencies.
  • Facilitate collaboration between nonprofit and for-profit businesses already engaged in this work.
  • Engage the community in meaningful dialogue, including victims and perpetrators of gun violence.
  • Develop prevention and intervention strategies tailored to eliminate gun violence.
  • Advocate for the necessary resources to support these efforts.

Finally, the task force consists of volunteers representing various backgrounds as well as people of different cultural backgrounds.

For more information on the Westchester County Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce, please contact Deputy Director of Operations Emily Saltzman  or (914) 995-2912.