First Columbia anti-violence task force meeting to be held next week

Co-chair talks goals, answers questions Tuesday night

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The first meeting of the newly-appointed Columbia Anti-Violence Task Force will be held next week, according to fifth ward councilwoman and co-chair Laura Nauser.

Nauser, speaking at a Boone County Pachyderm Club meeting Tuesday night, said the task force of 13 would be focused on four fundamentals: enforcement, intervention, prevention and re-entry.

"Back in 2007, I noticed when I was on city council at that time that we were suffering from a lot of violent crime," she said. "I noticed what a lot of the crimes had in common were young people."

At that time, she wrote 28 youth and family recommendations and presented it to the city and her fellow council members. One of those recommendations was the creation of a violence task force. Six years later, she'll co-chair that task force with council member Michael Trapp.

The task force, though, won't offer any recommendations until November 2014. At least one audience member grilled Nauser on immediate solutions, but Nauser used a failed property tax hike ballot issue proposal as an example of bad ideas rushed forward to combat crime.

Another concern from audience members was the threat of another tax hike to pay for police expansion, like the proposal voted down by Council Monday night. Mayor Bob McDavid said then that he would still like to see a tax ballot issue to hire more officer, this time on the April 2014 ballot.

During the hour discussion, questions ranged from police administration to fundamental, societal problems the city needed to address to combat crime - such as poverty, education and family support. Nauser reiterated that she believes crime is a community concern.

"I'm a firm advocate in one person making a difference in one person's life," she said.

The exact date and time for the task force's first meeting. Members will include Tyree Byndom, Steve Calloway, Chris Campbell, Cindy Garrett, Dan Hannekin, Pam Hardin, Mike Hayes, Christopher Haynes, Lorenzo Lawson, Paul Prevo, Glen Robertson, Jerry Taylor and David Thomas.

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