After consulting with faith leaders and community members throughout the area, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings has created a Citizens Safety Task Force aimed at reducing and preventing gun violence and violent crime. As a former Police Chief of the city of Orlando, former Orange County Sheriff, and former head of the department of Pubic Safety, Demings is no-nonsense when it comes to violent crime. Under Deming’s leadership, the county has seen a 34% reduction in violent crime and 30% reduction in overall crime.
This year, over a three-week span, Orange County saw seven shootings involving children 17 and younger– two of which resulted in fatalities. Gang violence was blamed. One of the children shot was just three years old.
Three-year-old Daquane Felix was killed in his Orange County home in September in what deputies described as a say was gang-related drive-by retaliation shooting. A few days earlier 14-year-old Denis Atkinson was killed not far from where Daquane was shot in a separate drive-by shooting.
The task force is comprised of 30+ members drawn from diverse backgrounds and different areas who can help identify solutions to longstanding community problems. The participants include young adults, youth mentors, faith-based leaders, behavioral health professionals, community advocates, law enforcement, education and prevention professionals, and service-based organizations.
Their first meeting is November 6 at 1:30 p.m. at Barnett Park Magic Gym, 4801 W Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32808. For those who would prefer not to attend in person: OrangeTV Live is your resource.