In the long-term, our County is holistically rethinking what “public safety” means. At the resident level, we heard during Civic Week that residents are keenly aware of the root causes of safety challenges and are looking to the County for support. We heard stories about how trauma affects neighborhoods that experience frequent, ongoing violence, which further contributes to a lack of safety. As we think about comprehensive public safety services, we heard that in some neighborhoods, an overwhelming number of residents have been incarcerated or know someone who has and that these individuals need additional support to thrive once they return to the community.
As County government, we understand our role as leaders in moving us toward that holistic definition of “public safety.” We can continue developing early intervention points and expanding social services. We can work to reduce criminalization by expanding the civil citation program and coordinating a non-911 alternative to crisis intervention. And we can build a stronger system of support services for formerly incarcerated individuals, including supportive housing, job placement, substance abuse counseling, and work toward preventing recidivism.