Law enforcement

Dallas Safe Communities Task Force to Meet Monday

The members of Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson’s Safe Communities Task Force are set to meet Monday as a fully-formed team.

He's asked the group, made up of 16 community leaders, to find ways the city can combat Dallas' spiking violent crime problems that don't directly involve law enforcement.

"We can't rely on law enforcement exclusively to solve this problem," Johnson said. "There's something going on in our neighborhoods and in our communities in Dallas that's leading to this increased activity, increased gang activity, this increased violent crime and we're going to get to the root of it."

The task force will hold a closed meeting Monday evening.[[559816982,C]]

Co-chair Alan Cohen says they plan to hold numerous public meetings as they go through this process -- but they first wanted some time to get to know each other before they engage the public as a whole.

They also wanted to come up with a game plan for how they will operate moving forward.

"I think our job is to wake up everyday and think about what it is that's within our power to lift up some solutions to what is a really big problem," Cohen said. "I think at the end of the day, we as a larger community -- all of Dallas -- ought to judge ourselves by whether or not we're seeing violence decrease."

Heading up the task force are three co-chairs: Cohen, president and CEO of The Child Poverty Action Lab; longtime civic leader and educator Rene Martinez and Rev. Dr. Michael Bowie, Senior Pastor at St. Luke Community United Methodist Church.

The team includes:

Marc Andres - Real estate developer in the Lower Greenville, Henderson Avenue, and Bishop Arts neighborhoods

Derrick Battie - Community liaison at South Oak Cliff High School

Stephanie Elizalde - Dallas ISD Chief of School Leadership

Gary Griffith - Chairman of Safer Dallas

Mita Havlick - Education advocate and former DISD board candidate from East Dallas

Changa Higgins - Community activist who pushed to strengthen oversight of police

Chad Houser - Chef and executive director of Café Momentum

Amanda Johnson - Gun sense advocate with Moms Demand Action

Edna Pemberton - Long-time advocate for Oak Cliff

Alex Piquero - Professor of Criminology at the University of Texas at Dallas and Monash University in Australia

Debbie Solis - Director of family and community services at Voice of Hope Ministries

Maria Valenzuela - Office manager at the Ferguson Road Initiative and long-time Far East Dallas resident

Marian Williams - Chairwoman at Southfair Community Development Corp.

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