POUGHKEEPSIE – The City of Poughkeepsie has received a SNUG anti-violence grant of $300,000. SNUG, which spells GUNS backwards, is a program that targets high-risk individuals in cities with gun violence issues, and pairs them with credible interrupters of violence, from within their own communities, to provide conflict resolution while continuing to follow up on such conflicts on a case-by-case basis without the involvement of the police.
Poughkeepsie’s SNUG Coordinator Danny Hairston said the program is aimed at interrupting the transmission of violence, changing the behavior of those committing the violence, and changing the community norms.
The SNUG program is based on the 20-year-old model of Chicago’s Cure Violence Program of treating conflict resolution as a disease.
Poughkeepsie Mayor Robert Rolison supports the program.
“There’s only so much a community can do to stop violence and there’s only so much the police can do to do that, and also identify the individuals responsible for it and hold them accountable,” Rolison said. “This is a whole different concept. A whole different type of way stopping additional violence, after an act of violence has occurred and I think that this is just a really great opportunity for our city to try to keep the community safe and stop further violence.”
Assemblyman Frank Skartados hopes the program can help alleviate the grief community members have had to endure from losing ones to violent acts.
“I think we’re all tired of the sidewalk memorials in this city, and other communities throughout the state, and we want to put an end to it. It’s as simple as that,” said Skartados.
“If we don’t fix this thing, then we’ll never get ahead.”
The National Director for Cure Violence, Cobe Williams, has been personally training Poughkeepsie’s hired community interrupters since Sunday and in preparation for them hitting the streets on Monday, shared a message to the community.
“Just because you make bad choices, and all that, that don’t make you bad people and you can change and we’re here to let you know you can change,” said Williams. “That’s why we’re here curing the violence everywhere we’re at. We’re curing the violence. We’re making a difference here in these communities by hiring the right, credible messengers.”