JaxCo COMBAT seeks opinions on public safety, crime

May 21, 2019 - 8:09 am

Jackson County COMBAT held the first of three Community Engagement Programs, listening sessions designed to gather public input on the problems of drug abuse and violence.

COMBAT is short for Community Backed Anti-
Crime Tax. Monday evening's event at the Mohart Community Center was hosted by Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker and COMBAT director Vince Ortega.

Some citizens at the meeting said they wanted to see more attention paid to intervention and youth-related programming.

The problem of bureaucracy is frustrating to Baker.

"We have an extreme amount of red tape and it's painful," Baker said. "It would be nice to get funds out the door more quickly and more timely."

The link between drugs and violence is obvious, but many people may not see the root cause, Otega said.

"You can look at it at the higher level, drug couriers and drug dealers, or you can see it at the user level within domestic violence, or just individuals having problems dealing with mental health," Ortega said.

The meeting reinforced Ortega's belief that unless mental health issues are addressed in violent crime investigations, the cycle will repeat. 

The next listening session is set for June 4 in Independence.

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