Green Bay awarded $1 million grant to create Office of Violence Prevention

The grant is expected to finance the first three years of the program
Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 3:15 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The City of Green Bay announced Thursday it has been awarded a $1 million grant to create an Office of Violence Prevention (OVP).

The grant comes from the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) - Wisconsin Community Safety Fund (WCSF) in partnership with the state of Wisconsin.

The grant was announced Thursday during a news conference at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Green Bay that featured Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, Chief Chris Davis of the Green Bay Police Department, and City of Green Bay Deputy Development Director Cheryl Renier-Wigg.

“For too long, our communities have been asked to do more with less as public safety costs over the last decade have increased while state aid to local communities has been cut or held flat. Folks, that’s not safe or sustainable,” said Governor Tony Evers.

A news release that accompanied the announcement said the office is intended to address crime in various ways such as deterrence, tracking underlying contributing factors, researching incidents with high likelihood of retaliation, developing reduction strategies, and identifying at-risk individuals.

Chief Davis said the office is designed to get out in front of an issue before it happens in the first place and it’s the best practice for interrupting the cycle of violence.

“I think for us this represents the next step in a very intentional strategy to address the gun violence issue in our community,” Chief Davis said. “If it is implemented well it can be a huge success. It really is the best practice in violence reduction in communities.”

Green Bay and communities around the country have seen an uptick in antisocial behaviors and some violent crimes in recent years, the news release said.

In response, the City of Green Bay retained the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (NICJR) to provide an analysis of violent crime in the community. The NICJR report recommended several strategies, including the need for greater investment in community-based services often provided by an OVP.

Mayor Genrich said this is the kind of development needed to continue having a safe, strong, and vibrant community.

“The job of keeping our neighborhoods safe is not one that falls solely on the shoulders of our police department, but it’s up to all of us here in the community, from the city of Green Bay’s point of view all of our departments, our neighborhoods and just you know, people to people interventions, making sure that everyone stays safe in Green Bay,” Mayor Genrich said.

The awarded grant is expected to fund the OVP during its first three years.