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Indianapolis peacemakers play key role in reducing gun violence

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Earlier this year, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett tasked a group of 35 peacemakers with leading the city’s grassroots gun violence reduction efforts.

Members of the Office of Public Health and Safety’s peacemakers program work to identify those most at-risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of gun violence and connect them to resources such as career advancement, financial coaching, and job training and certifications.

On Wednesday, Mayor Hogsett stopped by the Community Alliance Center of the Far Eastside to see the peacemakers in action. He also announced the continuation of the city’s partnership with CAFE and OPHS as well as the hiring of 50 peacemakers by the summer.

“They’re individuals with the responsibility of identifying those who are highest risk of falling into cycles of crime, or those who are at highest risk of being victimized by crime,” Hogsett said. “Gun violence continues to be a challenge, and the peacemakers are a part of the resolution. Adding additional police officers will help, [as will] the investments we are making in antiviolence and crime prevention.”

Branden Ballard is one of the peacemakers. He says he joined the group in January in order to promote unity and show the youth that they have more options than resorting to gun violence.

Ballard says Monday’s shooting deaths of two teenage boys at an Indianapolis park are an indicator of what’s been going on with the kids in the community.

“We can do a lot more before this happens,” Ballard said. “Its shouldn’t take crises like these for the community to come together.”

To learn more about the peacemakers and the city’s efforts to intervene in violence in the city’s neighborhoods, visit the city’s website.