Manatee officials are calling on parents and children from all corners of the county to participate in a community discussion on violence in neighborhoods and along local streets.
Manatee County Commission Chair Dr. Gwen Brown and Manatee School Board member Barbara Harvey will host a community discussion on from 12:30-3:30 p.m., Sept. 19 at Johnson Middle School, 2121 26th Ave. E. Following that meeting, Sheriff Brad Steube will hold a gun buyback event from 4-7 p.m., at Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, 600 301 Blvd. W., Bradenton.
Harvey wants the meeting to produce a firm blueprint of how to address what has become one of Manatee’s biggest problems. Parents, children, school board members, the faith-based community, Manatee County Community Services, sheriff’s office, local sororities and fraternities and all community groups are invited to attend the discussion.
“It is too late to draw another line in the sand; we must storm the beach,” Harvey said. “When we leave that meeting, we will have a blueprint for solving the crime and violence in our community. We need to start addressing these concerns on Sept. 20; it’s not something that can be placed on the shelf.”
Brown said, “If you have an interest in trying to deal with the crime we have in the community, I encourage you to come forward and talk about what you think we can do to make our community safer.”
The gun buyback will be across from DeSoto Square Mall, in front of Manatee Sheriff’s Office Operations Center. During that time anyone can trade in guns and firearms for cash. Participants will receive $50 for a revolver and $100 for a shotgun or rifle.
“No questions asked, no ID required,” Steube said. “I’m targeting anyone who has a gun who wants to get rid of a gun. We’ll dispose of them properly.”
For more information, call Harvey at 722-5696 or Brown at 745-3702. Anyone wanting to offer tips on local crime may anonymously call Manatee County Crime Stoppers at (866) 634-TIPS. Tips that lead to the felony or misdemeanor arrest of suspects and/or the recovery of stolen property and drugs are eligible for cash rewards of up to $1,000, which are paid to tipsters on an anonymous basis.