Officials pleased with response to violence intervention strateg - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Officials pleased with response to violence intervention strategy

City officials say the "call-in" meeting for South Bend's new violence intervention strategy Thursday night was a success.  In a meeting Friday morning, Sgt. Dom Zultanski said this new strategy is not a short term initiative but a permanent change to how the city operates. 

Sgt. Zultanski said 21 people who are currently on parole or probation were in attendance Thursday night. Organizers want them to send a message to the members of these gangs and groups operating inside the city.  The message was simple: The city is here to help, but if the violence continues, the city will come down hard on anyone connected to it, whether they committed the violence or not.

If they want to try and stop the cycle of violence, Chief Teachman said the city is promising to offer help.  He said the city is prepared to offer  "jobs, job placement, job training, education, substance abuse treatment, [and] housing."

Zultanski said 28 people were originally called-in and 7 didn't show up.  Not showing up to the meeting is a violation of their parole or probation. As a result, Zultanski said they could be heading back to jail.

Police were still pleased with the rest of the response.  All the people called in to the meeting were invited to stay after the presentation to talk more.  Organizers say 11 chose to do so.  To have more than 50% stay is unexpectedly high compared to other city's that have tried similar initiatives in the past.

Zultanski says another call in could be done, if needed, but they "don't know if we'll have to do that."
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