YORK COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM)– York’s police department and a department in Arkansas are exchanging ideas, and they say it’s helping fight crime.
They came here in June
“We are on our way back from Pine Bluff, Arkansas,” York City Police Commissioner Mike Muldrow said.
Literally on the way, we caught up with Mike Muldrow and his team while they were riding to the airport there.
“We were invited to come down and speak with the leaders,” Muldrow said.
They knew that part going in.
“Also – which ended up being a little bit of a surprise for me – we were also able to speak with their entire community,” Muldrow said.
But why would a community in Pine Bluff want to hear from folks in the Midstate?
“It’s a playbook to reducing gun violence,” Sheriff Lafayette Woods Jr. said
“They’re in a position right now — its like survival mode,” Program leader of Group Violence Intervention Tiffany Lowe said. “Like we were at one point in time.”
At a point in time not long ago, on this date in 2022 York had 16 homicides for the year. This year just four homicides.
“Those numbers are astonishing,” Woods Jr. said.
Still four too many – Muldrow will tell you – but a dramatic improvement which he credits partly to a program called group violence intervention – or GVI, down in Arkansas.
“We went to the jails and the juvenile placements and actually spoke to their offenders,” Muldrow said.
“13 young adults under the age of 18 in a juvenile facility facing capital murder,” Lowe said. “Well that’s where I need to go.”
“We had a conversation with a young lady who is 17 years old facing capital murder,” Lowe said. “When I heard her story, and her story was similar to all the stories that I hear back home – trauma. trauma, trauma – I knew we have work to do.”
“And to have them talk specifically about how they arrived, for those not within the short time in which they have to curb violence,” Woods Jr. said. “I mean, it was remarkable.”
“Seth, I am here to tell you that you would be proud, the community would be proud of these individuals,” Muldrow said. “They would be proud of how York came down and represented in Pine Bluff because we helped get the ball across the line. I think we left them as believers down here.”
Believers in that GVI program, which is a national one. York police are now kind of evangelizing for it because of how much violent crime has dropped in York.
Of course, no one can prove cause and effect, no one can say for sure what’s working in York, but something is.