The City of Utica Access and Inclusion Committee has identified a set of action items emanating from its first Solutions Summit on gun violence held in February. The action items are in response to community and expert feedback received at the summit.
The Access and Inclusion Committee members have met several times since the summit in an effort to aggregate the data collected and place priority on items that could reduce gun violence, as well as foster better community-police relations.
The Committee will work with the City of Utica and governmental, non-profit and private sector partners to take action on the following items:
Develop a Police Athletic League so children and police can play and learn together
Engage youth and parents in local activities, services and educational opportunities by creating easier access to those opportunities through a newly-designed Web-site
Develop a Public Service Announcement Campaign to mobilize residents against
Forge partnerships with and support mentor programs while encouraging
the development of new mentors in the community
Support the creation of new community centers and improvement of existing facilities
Partner with local and state partners to ensure there are more security cameras in high crime spots
Support and Promote programs to involve local children in potential public safety careers
Work to achieve these goals is already under way, and as efforts progress, the Access and Inclusion Committee will provide more details on the individual projects.
The members of the committee have broken into sub-groups centered around each action item. Each of the goals will be accompanied by announcements/updates as progress is made.
In addition, the Access and Inclusion Committee is coordinating an advisory group to work with the leadership of the Utica Police Department (UPD) in an effort to further engage with the community and explore potential reforms.
Utica Mayor Robert M. Palmieri: “The City of Utica will continue to be proactive in keeping our residents safe by strengthening community/police relations. This is a worthy investment as achieving these goals will not only make us a safer city, but a better city.”
Access and Inclusion Committee Chairmen Tony Colon: “It was a great first step to talk to the community and ask for solutions, now we need to make those solutions happen. We’re excited to let the community know what actions we plan to take so that we can be held accountable in our efforts to save lives.”
Utica Police Chief Mark Williams: “The Utica Police Department doesn’t solve crimes by itself, our Officers are part of the community and our work is for all of the residents of the City of Utica. We welcome public input and are excited about these ideas and whatever solutions can make our officers and residents safer, closer and part of a better Utica.”
Alicia Dicks, President/CEO of the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties. “Working together as a community, we are on a path that will lead to greater understanding and equity for all. While the challenges are longstanding, and past efforts have brought some progress, we all have a long way to go—and this committee’s work will continue to be critical to continuing conversations that lead to action and real results.”
Sonia Martinez, Executive Director, Mohawk Valley Latino Association: “The Mohawk Valley Latino Association is committed to justice, inclusion and building a City rich with cooperation and understanding. I’m proud to have been a part of this effort and I look forward to ensuring that real change continues to happen from the ground up.”
Stephanie Heiland, Project Director for Pathways to Justice Careers: Now, more than ever, it is important we stay focused on building positive relationships between the community and law enforcement, empowering our youth, and embracing the diversity in the City of Utica. I am confident these action items will do just that.
Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency Executive Director Amy Turner and Deputy
Director Evon Ervin: “Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency strive to bring about real change. We will join together and bring all ideas to the table. As members of the community we should look at strategies that work for our communities and come together with answers that others might be inclined to use. We recognize a need to create opportunities for all people to thrive, build strong, resilient communities and ensure a more equitable society because we care about the entire Community. We all have the capability to offer a voice and a helping hand in leading real changes that will make a difference for the present and future of the Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency supports the work of the City of Utica’s Access and Inclusion Committee and commends their recommendations.”