NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – At today’s Board of Commissioners meeting, County Manager Chris Coudriet provided an update to the board on the progress for school safety investments and community resources and supports to help prevent violence.
An overview of the initial strategies and potential investments can be viewed here. Additional details of this plan, funding information, and program development will take place over the coming weeks and months and will be brought before the board and the public prior to funding investments being made.
“We are beginning to create tangible plans and a framework for actual investment that will help improve school safety to make them physically safer in the near term and begin to address some of the foundational drivers of community violence,” said County Manager Chris Coudriet. “The current framework has been informed by meetings and conversations with more than 60 diverse service providers, community leaders, school personnel, students and parents, law enforcement, community advocates, and content experts that operate in this space. These have been very intentional conversations that have led us to where we are today. And this is just our starting point, because we still have more information to gather, programs to develop, and additional community input to receive. As that is done, we will bring specific investment measures and program budgets to the Board of Commissioners for their review and approval. We are committed to keep our board and the public informed every step of the way.”
In addition to these initial strategies, the county is also launching a public input survey about school and community safety, reporting incidents and communication, and community programs and resources. The survey is completely anonymous and will be open now through Monday, November 1. It is intended to gather direct community-wide feedback to help inform the continued development of actionable plans and investments.
“The survey is a way to get specific data and direct feedback from the entire community, who can provide first-hand concerns and experiences, general feedback and feelings, and suggestions on how to improve our school safety and community resources,” continued Coudriet. “We are committed to this work and will be making data-driven and evidence-based investments. This is going to take ongoing conversations and community engagement, and is not complete today. We will continue refining and updating our plans and investments in the coming months, as we continue to hear from our diverse audiences and hear what the needs and opportunities are to ensure families have the support they need, violence can be prevented, and our community can be safer and better supported.”
The county will also be hosting online community forums for additional engagement opportunities (which are being planned now), as well as student conversations and focus groups that – all together – will continue to help inform the community’s path forward.
Additional information about the county’s school safety and violence prevention initiative is available at NHCgov.com/SchoolSafety.