Youngstown police launch anti-violence initiative

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — With the warmer months approaching, the Youngstown Police Department is ready to get extra patrols out on the streets.

On Thursday, the department announced the kickoff of its Violence Interruption Patrol initiative. Youngstown Police Chief Robin Lees invited law enforcement from across the state to kick off VIP 2014.

“This is primarily an enforcement effort where we work with our other law enforcement partners in an effort to curb any violence that is taking place in the street,” Lees said.

Local, state and federal agencies are all pitching in for this initiative.

“Everyone from the United States attorney’s office, down to and including the sheriff’s office, adult parole, juvenile probation, a lot of the other areas that can bring significant enforcement to situations such as ATF for firearms violations,” Lees said.

Violence Interruption Patrol started in 2003 as V-GRIP. Officers patrol the entire city, but pay special attention to neighborhoods most commonly affected by violence.

“The patrol effort is directed by intelligence-led policing and information that we gather through the statistical data and other intelligence information that we collect,” Lees said.

Each agency is helping to fund the effort, along with a grant, and the mayor’s office is contributing toward overtime for Youngstown officers.

Patrols started getting out on the streets two weeks ago, but the the chief said the main target period for the program is from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

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