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Other cities want to duplicate Indy violence reduction program

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The city of Cleveland’s public safety director and deputy police chief visited Indianapolis Friday to observe the Indianapolis TenPoint Coalition’s anti-violence program.

“To be able to observe how the OG’s interact with the community and what it is they do on a nightly basis,” Rev. Charles Harrison, Board Chair of the TenPoint Coalition said.

“OG” or Original Gangster, is a term Harrison uses to describe his volunteers that got into vulnerable neighborhoods to interact with at-risk youth.

“It’s a term of respect on the streets, for someone who has been in the game,” he said.

Officials from the city of Cleveland reached out a couple years ago about starting a similar program and finally made it out to Indiana after the pandemic slowed down.

They stopped in Ft. Wayne earlier Friday, which also modeled Indianapolis’ program.

“They do a citywide initiative that addresses the root causes of violence, that particularly impacts young men of color, between the ages of 10 and 25 years old.”

TenPoint’s “OGs” aren’t affiliated with the city of Indianapolis’ Peacemaker program, which recently added more volunteers, but Harrision doesn’t see the city as a competitor.

“I don’t think it’s really an issue, if we’re putting more people on the streets in hot spot areas, then it’s only going to beneift the city.”

Harrison said 35 other cities expressed interest in duplicating the program.

Officials from some of those cities plan on visiting Indianapolis in the near future.