Groups training in Minneapolis as community works to stop violence

Working to stop the violence in communities: That’s the goal of the national organization Cure Violence Global.

Trainers with Cure Violence Global were asked to come to Minneapolis to do this training, which involves working with groups on the ground in Minneapolis on additional non-enforcement strategies.

Teams from four local organizations are hitting the streets of Minneapolis, and the city is working on adding two additional crews to "MinneapolUS."

"The violence interrupters are individuals who actually go out into the community and talk to alleged shooters, killers in a neighborhood, and try to talk them down from doing other things in the neighborhood," said Jarmain Merritt, a program coordinator and implementation specialist with Cure Violence Global. "They can communicate with them more effectively because they were once them, they were once a part of the negativity in the neighborhood,"

Merritt said that respect opens the door for a mindset change.

"Just showing you how to, with body language, and how you approach individuals in the community, how you do things with alleged offenders who are allegedly high-risk individuals, just how you approach them and how you just merge with them," Meritt said.

"If you don’t have relationships, you can’t do this work, period," said Trahern Pollard, founder and CEO of We Push For Peace, one of the organizations involved in MinneapolUS.

"Honestly, talking with some of these young men and women that we encounter and specifically seeing what some of their needs are," Pollard said of the training.

And this week’s training is a two-way street.

"They are going to say something that I’ve never heard before, and I’m going to say something that they’ve never heard before," Pollard said.

The national organization says research shows its programs and training can help cut violence up to 30% in certain areas.

Minneapolis’ 2021 city budget included $2.5 million in ongoing funds for the Minneapolis Strategic Outreach Initiative. Of that, roughly $2 million will be used for contracts with organizations like Cure Violence Global, which will provide violence interruption services. The remainder will be spent on initiative operation costs.