ST. LOUIS — A civic group that has pushed to establish the Cure Violence program in St. Louis is withdrawing its support because it believes missteps by city officials are undermining the program.
The Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression, a group that advocates for more civilian control over police affairs, announced Monday that two leaders of the coalition will resign from a board that helps oversee Cure Violence, a city-funded crime reduction program.
The coalition sought to have the program implemented in St. Louis, arguing that it was a data-proven way to reduce violence and change attitudes in the city’s most violent neighborhoods.
St. Louis eventually allocated $7 million to start the program in the city. Two coalition leaders, Jamala Rogers and John Chasnoff, sat on the Cure Violence steering committee as three Cure Violence centers were opened in the past several months.
“CAPCR’s decision to withdraw is based on continued failures by the city’s administration to adhere to a process which puts community voices first,” a coalition statement said. “As a result, the city risks implementing a program that does not follow the successful Cure Violence model we want to see reducing violence here.”
The group also criticized Mayor Lyda Krewson for supporting an initiative to bring 50 federal officers to the city to help with law enforcement efforts, calling the decision “the latest proof that city officials are not committed to a public health approach to stopping violence.”
Jacob Long, spokesman for the mayor’s office, said Monday that the city remains committed to Cure Violence.
“We need both things,” Long said of the program and of additional federal investigators. “It’s not an ‘either or’ situation, it’s a ‘both and’ situation.”
The coalition said it plans to give more details about its decision on Tuesday.
Cure Violence was founded in Chicago and centers around a method of crime reduction that trains locally hired workers to deescalate conflicts before guns are drawn. It also connects families affected by violence or crime to social services.