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Education, Jobs Could Reduce Crime, Says Mayor

City of Pensacola

In the light of three shooting incidents at Pensacola Court since July, officials are intensifying their search for solutions. One arrow in the quiver could be economic opportunity.

“That’s something that we continue to work diligently on, and to make citizens aware,” said Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson. “All over the city of Pensacola the opportunities that are available for you to do something else other than thinking about gangs, drugs, and gun violence.”

During his weekly virtual news conference, Robinson said they want to look at alternatives. To that end, the city has hired Kelsey Powell for its neighborhood staff. A focus-inside-that-focus is ST Engineering.

“We really want them to focus on economic opportunity in looking at things like we had,” the mayor said. “The change to go get an education and on-the-job training in aviation with ST – and really give you the chance to get a certificate that can really transform your life – give you a career, opportunity.”

But the mayor adds there are other places besides ST Engineering, where training is available to set out on a different path. And finding the right fits are Kelsey Powell’s top job.

“How does he get some of our young people interested in these other opportunities and get away from gun violence?” said Robinson. “For the longest time, we can invest in training, we could invest in education. But if you got done with it, there wasn’t a job waiting for you. Now we have those opportunities and they’re here in Pensacola waiting for you.”

The approach, says the mayor, is two-pronged -- involving both law enforcement and opening economic doors.

“The ultimate solution on it is really to provide other economic opportunity; and the way to do that is through education and workforce training,” said the mayor. “That’s why we’re very focused on what we can do, and offer opportunities to get education and change, and get a skill level to invest in yourself. No matter what happens, you’ll always have that skill.”

Work also continues by the city and local law enforcement on curbing the violence – gun and otherwise. Robinson says the options include help from Uncle Sam.

“We’ve reached out before, we’ll be happy to look and see what we can do with our federal friends and assets,” said the mayor. “Certainly we worked very diligently with the U.S. Attorney’s office. Anything we can do along that line we’re more than happy to.”

The Citizens Police Advisory Committee– CPAC —is scheduled to meet at 5:30 Tuesday afternoon at City Hall. Public comment can be virtual.

“The meeting can be viewed live at www.cityofpensacola.com/video to provide input,” said Robinson. “Fill out a speaker request form at www.cityofpensacola.com/CPACinput.”   

CPAC was formed out of the grand jury investigation into the shooting death of Tymar Crawford by Pensacola police last year.