The Guilford County Board of Commissioners was laser focused on addressing gun violence when the board met on Thursday, June 2.
The commissioners reached out to local media and everyone listening to ask them to get the word out about what can be done starting right this second to help prevent mass shootings like the recent school shooting in Texas.
There are a lot of things county leaders want residents to do, but one that became the catchphrase of the new effort is this: “If you see something, say something.”
Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston and Vice-chair Carlvena Foster both restated this message multiple times that evening and, even after the meeting was over and Alston was being interviewed by local media, he continued to repeat the phrase that is now meant to become a centerpiece in the effort to reduce shootings in Guilford County.
A statement read by Foster announced that, as the nation mourns in the aftermath of yet another senseless school shooting, the county’s leaders “stand in solidarity with the schoolchildren of Uvalde, Texas, in saying, ‘No more.’”
When Foster read the statement, she was speaking not only for the Board of Commissioners but also for local health officials, Emergency Services leaders, school officials and the staffs of non-profits that address violence and mental health issues.
“Working together, we can protect the sanctity of the schoolhouse,” the statement read. “Working together, we can stop the violence that has claimed far too many lives and hurt countless others. Working together, we can – and we must – keep our children safe. That work is already underway in Guilford County. County, city, school, and law enforcement officials, leaders, and staff work closely together on safety planning, training, technology, and facility design and needs.”
Important strategies include sharing information, coordinating services and offering residents effective mental health services.
This statement also notes that there are “active tip lines supported by well-trained and responsive partners who immediately follow up on every contact.”
Here’s a list of phone numbers the commissioners want everyone to make note of and use when a problem or potential problem is witnessed:
- Greensboro-Guilford County Crime Stoppers Tip Line: 336-373-1000
- High Point Crimestoppers Tip Line: 336-889-4000
- 24 -Hour Behavioral Health Call Center: 1-800-256-2452
- Behavioral Health Crisis Line: 1-833-600-2054
- Guilford County Mobile Crisis Team: 1-877-626-1772
The statement Foster read also noted other moves that can be made to enhance student safety – such as designing and renovating schools with safety as a priority.
But, as for right now, county residents and county leaders will be the main tools in the initiative.
“If you see something, say something,” the statement reads. “Seek more and better intervention services and supports for struggling children and families. Volunteer in your community or at your local school. Actively engage in our great democracy.”