Youth, Law Enforcement Tackle Violence

KNOXVILLE — Teenagers, law enforcement officials and community leaders from throughout the South will take on the problem of youth violence here this week.

The University of Tennessee and the Knoxville Police Department are sponsoring a youth violence prevention summit July 26-28 at the Hyatt Regency. Approximately 140 of the 200 participants will be middle and high school students.

Thomas Ballard, UT associate vice president for public service, said participants will leave Knoxville Friday with more than pages of notes and suggestions.

“At the end of the summit, representatives from each of the 18 cities who are here will have completed an action plan they can implement to combat youth violence in their communities,” Ballard said. “The young people who are attending will have a major role in putting their plans together.”

Topics to be discussed include the influences of alcohol, drugs and music on violence, school- and gang-related violence, and consequences of violent acts, said Mary Taylor, director of program development in UT’s Institute for Public Service.

The summit is funded by a grant to the university’s Law Enforcement Innovation Center from the U.S. Justice Department.

Participants from cities in Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas and South Carolina are expected to attend this week’s summit, Taylor said.