The Guilford County Board of Commissioners will now wait a little longer to make their final decision on whether the county should spend nearly $300,000 to start a Cure Violence program meant to reduce gun violence and other serious crimes in the area.
The Board of Commissioners was scheduled to hear the matter at its Thursday evening, June 6, meeting; however, just hours before that meeting Guilford County Commissioner Skip Alston – who’s been insisting the board take a vote on the issue – informed the Rhino Times that he would pull the item from the agenda. He added that the commissioners will revisit it at a later date.
“I think there needs to be some more discussion on it,” Alston said Thursday afternoon.
He said he and other advocates of the program had been in discussions with the commissioners recently to get them on board, but Alston added that it now seemed beneficial to have a little more time to answer some questions and further those discussions.
The program to combat violence got its start in Chicago before expanding to other cities. One of the more controversial aspects is that one of the strategies the program uses is hiring those with a criminal past to go into high-crime areas of cities and dissuade potential perpetrators from murder and other violent crime.
Some members of the Greensboro City Council – which is considering matching the funding if the county commissioners back it – have been pushing the county in recent months to adopt the program.
This new move will give all parties more time to consider it.
Some commissioners – such as Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Alan Branson and Commissioner Justin Conrad – have expressed serious concerns about the fact that the program leaves the police department “out of the loop” when addressing violent crime.
The county commissioners already had a jam-packed agenda for the June 6 meeting, which includes two public hearings on the budget – and pulling the Cure Violence debate from that agenda will save the commissioners from what promised to be a lengthy and perhaps heated discussion on top of the many other matters to be addressed.