AG Herring discusses gun violence prevention with Roanoke leaders

Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 5:00 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Collaboration was the key takeaway as Attorney General Mark Herring sat down with Roanoke leaders for a gun violence prevention roundtable Friday.

“All problems are better solved not with just one entity trying to attack the problem, but through a conglomerate of many agencies and entities trying to solve the problem,” said Roanoke Chief of Police Sam Roman.

The discussion featured Roanoke government, law enforcement, education and community leaders who are all working together to put a stop to violent crime in the Star City.

“There are so many people in the community invested in this work,” said Joe Cobb, the chair of Roanoke’s Gun Violence Prevention Commission.

“I’m sick and tired of seeing young people die,” added NAACP Roanoke Branch President Brenda Hale as she briefed the Attorney General on last weekend’s Groceries Not Guns buyback.

$14,000 in gift cards were handed out in exchange for firearms in just 90 minutes.

They had to stop when funds ran out. But that’s where Herring steps in.

His office was allocated $2.5 million by the General Assembly to fund gun violence reduction programs across the state.

“Some of what we need to do will be to address acute issues that come up from time to time, but this is really a long-term approach we want to take,” said Herring.

The Democratic Attorney General, who is running for re-election, brought his own ideas to the table, too, suggesting a public awareness campaign similar to one used in Richmond.

“In other places, we have been able to communicate really strong messages about how committing another act of violence in response to an act of violence isn’t helping, it’s only magnifying the trauma in the community,” said Herring.

The city is in the process of hiring a Youth and Gang Violence Prevention Coordinator and two outreach workers.

Interviews are expected to take place next week and the city hopes the new hires will begin in early October.

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