Orange County Citizens Safety Task Force makes 20 recommendations to curb violence

Task force members had months of ‘uncomfortable conversations’ developing recommendations

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – After months of discussions and listening, the Citizens Safety Task Force has its recommendations for change in Orange County.

That task force has met over the last few months, as deputies continue to investigate violent crimes across the county. Now, the task force has suggestions it says can be put into action.

Mayor Jerry Demings formed the task force after a string of shootings last fall, including two separate drive by shootings resulting in the deaths of 3-year-old Daquane Felix and 14-year-old Joshua Atkinson, both still unsolved. 

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On Monday, Demetrius Cox was shot and killed hours after his 21st birthday. He’s accused of shooting and killing a man at a house party last year in Osceola county that investigators say was gang related.

“I say thank-you on behalf of all them as we try to prevent gun violence and violent crime in our communities,” Demings said.

Rod Love is co-chair of the task force and joined dozens of community and law enforcement leaders at their final task force meeting Wednesday.

“We engaged each other and sometimes it was very uncomfortable conversations,” Love said. “If you choose to pick up a gun in Orange County, you need to be prepared to deal with the consequences.”

The task forced formed four sub committees -- Prevention, Intervention, Enforcement and Prosecution -- aimed at preventing crime.

The task force came up with 20 recommendations in all to curb the violence. Among those include reducing disproportionate arrests and incarceration of Black youth, increasing the use of grassroots organizations, developing a neighborhood accountability board and more.

Read all of the recommendations here:

“Together we can all make a difference and be the change that we want to see,” said Bishop Kelvin Cobaris, a member of the task force.

It’s all been worth it for task force member Monique Worrell, as the newly-elected Orange Osceola County State Attorney.

“It has truly been enlightening to hear the voices of different community members as to what they see as important,” Worrell said.

The task force chairs will now present these recommendations to county commissioners on April 13.  Then, the mayor will implement an execution plan.

News 6 is also working to learn more on how the county plans to use the approved $2 million to address these recommendations.

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