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GANG TASK FORCE COMMUNITY FORUM

MAY 2OTH COLEMAN BUSH BUILDING @ 6PM

 

 LAKELAND, FL (May 7, 2014) - On Tuesday, May 20th there will be a Gang Task Force Community Forum at the Coleman-Bush Building starting at 6 p.m. In response to a number of recent gang influenced shootings, a Community Task Force has been established to help find solutions to combat growing concerns about gang activity.

 

Commissioner Phillip Walker, Chair of the Gang Task Force said, “There have been a number of gang related shootings in the last several months and the purpose of the task force is to identify the steps needed to help curb gang membership within the community.”  He added, “We would like to give a Task Force update on where we are to date and share with residents on what they can do to assist us because this issue must be addressed by the community as well as law enforcement.”

 

In a meeting on gang related issues held November 2013, members of the community helped identify areas of immediate need that includes both prevention and suppression tactics. These next steps and an action update will be discussed at the community forum. 

1. Organize and identify 1,000 mentors that can serve as role models to troubled teens. This can include other high school students in addition to college students.

2. Collaborate existing youth programs to make sure each program operator knows and understands the existence, capacity and focus of other community based programs. Assess whether more and different types of programming is needed for 13 - 18 year-olds and identify funding concerns.

3. Initiate a partnership between law enforcement and the Polk County School Board to make sure educators are trained and aware of the critical role they play in identifying students who are being groomed or pressured to be part of a gang.  The community also asked that law enforcement instill a County-wide school based gang education program and law enforcement responded to community concerns with a stronger presence in known gang areas.

Mayor Howard Wiggs said, “We need to have a holistic approach to identify and reduce the number of individuals who look at gangs as the answer to their problems.  The current gang issues affect all of us and we need to work together in finding a community solution.” 

 

LPD Assistant Chief Rick Taylor said, “In Lakeland we have approximately 300 documented gang members and associates. Right now we have 46 listed gangs with four very active gangs operating within our community.” The City of Lakeland asks the community to attend this important meeting as we work toward solutions to curb gang membership and identify resources needed to help reduce gang violence.  For more information on gang activity in Florida, please visit www.floridagangreduction.com and visitwww.lakelandgov.net/RefusetoLose.aspx to get more information on community youth programs and gang related topics.

 


MAYOR WIGGS ESTABLISHES SEVEN NEW TASK FORCES

HE INVITES CITIZENS TO JOIN

 

LAKELAND, FL (February 25, 2014) - Mayor Howard Wiggs invites you to become involved with the City of Lakeland by volunteering on one of the seven newly established task forces that have been created to help make Lakeland a better place to live, work and play.  A brief description of each task force is listed below.  Those interested in serving on a Task Force must be a customer of Lakeland Electric.  An easy to use form is on-line at http://www.lakelandgov.net/CityGovernment/MayorsTaskForces.aspx

 

AGING/QUALITY OF LIFE TASK FORCE - The Task Force will serve as a forum to share information and to promote inter-agency understanding.  The group will work together as advocates, educators and legislative activists to address the issues of older adults.

 

ARTS AND CULTURE EVALUATION TASK FORCE - This Task Force will review funding needs to help support arts and cultural programs. There is a great interest in this area and in improving the coordination of the arts in Lakeland and clearly has budgetary implications that will need to be addressed both short and long term.  

 

BUSINESS EVALUATION TASK FORCE - The Task Force will review City regulations and ordinances; they will evaluate processes for permitting and inspections; they will discuss the possible creation of a small business Small Business Liaison and how that position would be used.  The group will discuss what changes might be needed to improve Lakeland’s business friendly environment. 

CODE REVIEW TASK FORCE - This Task Force will undertake a comprehensive review of the City’s Code of Ordinances.  The group will identify and address outdated codes that may no longer be relevant to our community and organization.   

GANG TASK FORCE - This Task Force will explore how our community can respond to the negative impacts of gang-related activities. This group will work with outreach programs and representatives from law enforcement, Community Development and Parks & Recreation Department, the Polk County School Board, faith-based organizations and other community/neighborhood associations.  The group will discuss the current state of affairs and outline a comprehensive strategy in response to the destructive nature of gangs and their related violence to help protect the future of our youth.

NEIGHBORHOOD IMPROVEMENT TASK FORCE - This Task Force will discuss how the needs of the City’s neighborhoods can be better addressed.  The team will evaluate how Code Enforcement may be more effective in the neighborhoods.  The group will make recommendations as to how the Neighborhood Association Coalition might operate more effectively and if the structure should be modified.  There will be a focus on citizen engagement and ways to improve our neighborhoods.  

SOCIAL MEDIA TASK FORCE - The Task Force will evaluate social media effectiveness to determine ways in which the City of Lakeland might improve current social media programs to enhance citizen engagement.  The group will provide recommendations on social media tools and strategies, assist emerging City agencies on social media, evaluate new social media platforms and update social media guidelines and policies.

For more information regarding the City of Lakeland, please visit our website at www.lakelandgov.net.