SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — There is a push at city hall to change the way Sacramento thinks about—and funds—public safety by implementing youth-centered prevention services in a brand new way.
It comes nearly two weeks after gang violence led to the worst mass shooting in Sacramento history.READ MORE: 'We Want To Take An Innovated Approach': Sacramento City Pilot Project Sets Aside $1M For Community To Spend
Calls for more investments in these prevention programs have come from every corner of our community since the April 3 shooting, and now, one city councilmember wants to put them under the same “public safety umbrella” as police, fire and emergency services.
“It’s about looking broadly and wholistically at who we are as a city,” said Councilmember Jay Schenirer.
And who we are as a city needs to change, according to Schenirer.
“Any time you want to do something for fire, police or emergency services, you have to do something commensurate for young people,” he said.
Schenirer’s pushing to revisit a resolution passed two years ago to add youth-centered prevention services to traditional public safety—that’s fire, police and emergency services. But that’s not all.
“So, if we do a 5% increase in police, we should also do a 5% increase in programs for young people,” Schenirer said.
That money would come from the city’s general fund.READ MORE: 'I Cannot Safely Return To Work': West Campus Vice Principal Dr. Elysse Versher Resigns, Citing History Of Racial And Sexual Harassment
It would also mark a shift Mervin Brookins says is long overdue. He’s the CEO of Brother 2 Brother, a local mentoring program.
“It places value on the work that we do,” he said. “And when there’s value, there’s respect.”
And if that respect comes with more resources, Brookins believes it could prevent tragedies like the one we saw play out downtown nearly two weeks ago.
“It would enable us to reach more young people, engage them in more resources, give them more experiences,” he said. “It would do a lot.”
But what exactly is considered a youth-centered prevention service? Those details still need to be ironed out.
“It could be after-school programs. It could be pop-ups. It could be workforce training so that young people can get jobs,” Schenirer said.
While Schenirer is bracing for some opposition, Brookins is hopeful the city has reached a turning point.
“I think now is the time when we’ve got to meet the moment,” Brookins said.MORE NEWS: 'The Saddest Thing I've Ever Seen': Community Shaken After 3-Year-Old Dies In Arden-Arcade Fourplex Fire
Schenirer wants the city to move fast on this and have new youth services funding available for the next budget year which starts in July.