$1.5 million grant targets youth, gun violence

Tallahassee native Henry Streater. Photo courtesy: Streater

Awarded a $1.5 million grant, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office is on a mission to stop gun violence in Tallahassee.

As part of the Bipartisan Safer Community Act, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Program allocated $1,495,663 to LSCO in an effort to keep the youth of Tallahassee protected against acts of violence that have been running rampant in their communities.

In 2022 alone, it was reported that 92 shootings took place in Leon County, 15 of which ended in fatalities.

With rising crime rates, the city is now using the funds to power initiatives dedicated to combating gun violence. One is the Council on the Status of Men and Boys.

The Council on the Status of Men and Boys agency is a resource that was created in August by LCSO to help ensure safety from gun violence in schools and communities within Leon County.

With plans to continue their mission to help the youth, the funds are to be used to aid in hiring staff and assist with research.

In a press release sent out on Oct. 3, the Council on the Status of Men and Boys Director, Royale King, expressed his gratitude for the funding.

“This grant will help ensure that, for the next three years, the Council has the staffing and research needed to better understand what works to reduce violence. However, this is only a small part of what it takes to support our efforts. We will continue to need the community’s support and additional funding to ensure we have the proper community-based programs and resources to be successful,” King said.

Similar to King, many in the community saw this funding as a sign of hope for the city.

“I think this money will be beneficial to the city, definitely. I’m just interested in seeing how successful their plans are,” Henry Streater said. “Being from the city I’ve seen tremendous growth, but gun violence is definitely still a huge issue in Tallahassee.”

Streater, a Tallahassee native, is no stranger to the effects of gun violence in the community.

Relocated shortly after his high school graduation, Streater moved just four hours north to Atlanta in hopes to get an education and escape the dangers of the city.

“I grew up on the north side of Tallahassee.” Streater said. “Although it is deemed a ‘safer community’ I’ve been impacted in many ways. Some of my friends from high school who stayed after graduation were victims of gun violence and it’s disheartening to see. No one should be subjected to an environment like this at a young age, so I think it’s great they’re targeting youth.”