The Public Safety Coordinating Council met Tuesday at the Leon County Courthouse Commission Chambers and gave advice on how to deal with overcrowded county jails and other public safety concerns. There were updates on the Renaissance Community Center Complex and veteran’s affairs.
The PSCC was an advisory committee for the Leon County Board of County Commissioners.
Chuck White, the director of the Renaissance Community Center, gave a report on the center’s current programs. The Renaissance Center and The Shelter aided the homeless and recently merged to open a new facility to offer resources to the homeless.
“What we’ve done is add a residential component and strong medical care,” White said.
He explained how the center is looking to provide employment opportunities to the homeless in hopes that they gain stability.
“We’re providing employees with an opportunity to get in front of employers on essentially a risk-free basis,” White said. “Day labor tends to be a dead end for folks who are homeless. Our hope is that they get a chance to show their skill apart from their background or record and convince the employer to hire them.”
The center has built a strong relationship with the county jail to keep people who are homeless and have been arrested from going back to jail and improving their situation. Major Brent Coughlin of the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, who served on the PSCC, said the relationships formed by these organizations will better the community.
“We have several partners who are going to be in physical relationship with each other and we want to continue to have meetings outside of these formal ones to iron out ideas as far as how they can help us and we can help them,” Coughlin said. “How our medical team can work with their medical team. I see all this progress as a positive.”
The council was very pleased with the development of the center and had a discussion on how to decrease the jail population.
Bill Proctor, the City Commissioner who resided over the council meeting, explained the goals of PSCC.
“We’re purposed by state statute to do all we can to limit the population in county jail. When the population is low, your saving county taxpayers a lot of money," Proctor said. “What you can have is a high recidivism rate. We look at data every month to make sure that people aren’t going back."