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Milwaukee Alderman Urges People Who See ‘Potential Gun Violence Scenario’ to Call Office of Violence Prevention, Not Police

“414LIFE has staff members experienced in violence interruption and de-escalation, and they’ve already saved hundreds of lives in Milwaukee doing what they do” – Alderman Khalif Rainey

Alderman Khalif Rainey whipped out a typical press release lamenting the latest horrific crime in Milwaukee, a triple shooting involving teens. But toward the end of it, was a mind-boggling statement.

“If you see a potential gun violence scenario developing with relatives, friends, or neighbors, I strongly recommend that you reach out to the 414LIFE staff that are affiliated with the city’s Office of Violence Prevention. Please make that call to 414-439-5525,” Rainey wrote.

Note: He did not urge people to call 911 or the police.

Note as well: He wants people to call Office of Violence Prevention staff in cases in which a “potential gun violence scenario” is developing.

That sounds downright dangerous. But that’s what it has come to.

“414LIFE has staff members experienced in violence interruption and de-escalation, and they’ve already saved hundreds of lives in Milwaukee doing what they do,” he wrote.

That might be a good statement for Politifact to check. Where’s the evidence, with homicide soaring again to record levels, that the Office of Violence Prevention has “already saved hundreds of lives in Milwaukee”?

What the heck is 414LIFE? The website makes it completely unclear how the initiative’s staff members would be prepared to deal with developing gun violence situations.

The Facebook page doesn’t either.

A job description is a bit more detailed. It says:

“414LIFE is a community-based gun violence intervention strategy called for by the community in Goal 1 of Milwaukee’s Blueprint for Peace. This strategy calls for the use of an evidence-based approach to interrupt conflict and retaliatory gun violence in Milwaukee. 414 LIFE is a program of the City of Milwaukee’s Office of Violence Prevention (OVP) implemented in partnership with the Comprehensive Injury Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin and local healthcare partners. After extensive research, OVP selected the international Cure Violence Global model for our program implementation.

414 LIFE focuses its efforts in several priority neighborhoods and engages individuals ages 15 to 35 at highest risk for gun violence victimization through community outreach, life-coaching, victim advocacy, conflict mediation, and community mobilization. The program works to prevent gun violence by 1) mediating conflicts that could result in violent death or injury, 2) positively influencing the thinking and behavior of individuals at highest risk of being victims or perpetrators of gun violence, and 3) working closely with a broad network of local partners to elevate violence as a preventable public health issue.”

Rainey did note, “In Saturday’s triple shooting, Milwaukee Police are seeking additional information in the case, and anyone with details to pass along is asked to please call (414) 935-7360. To remain anonymous, please contact Milwaukee Crime Stoppers at (414) 224-Tips or P3 Tips App.”

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