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The Journal Gazette

  • Sessions

Tuesday, November 07, 2017 1:00 am

In Indy, Sessions touts gun program

Pastors' goal to reduce youth violence

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions visited the state Monday to hear about a faith-based program to curb youth gun violence.

He attended a meeting of the Ten Point Coalition and briefly walked a city neighborhood at the request of state Attorney General Curtis Hill, who is offering grant money to cities interested in spreading the initiative.

“We will not concede a single block or a single street corner,” Sessions told the group of pastors gathered.

He said he wants the U.S. Department of Justice to be a partner with local communities and law enforcement to curb crime by re-establishing a modernized project on safe neighborhoods.

Sessions noted that violent crime and homicide rates have been rising the last two years after a significant drop.

“Safety cannot be for the few,” he said, noting the goal is not to put more people in prison but to reduce crime.

He opened the event by acknowledging the church shooting that killed 26 in Texas on Sunday – “our hearts are broken.”

Sessions did not take questions from the media.

The Ten Point Coalition is comprised of churches that minister and monitor neighborhoods alongside local police. It focuses on preventing crime rather than just enforcement.

“We're going to follow up. This is not just a photo op,” said the Rev. Eugene Rivers of Boston, director of the National Ten Point Training Institute.

He said the discussion did not focus on funding – “the first time you go out on a date you don't hit 'em up for money.”

Hill has set aside $500,000 to spread the program in the state. His staff said there is interest from Fort Wayne, Kokomo, Muncie, Anderson, Evansville, South Bend and Gary. No funds have yet been distributed.

nkelly@jg.net