A press conference was held Tuesday at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office to announce the formal launch of the Gang Reduction Initiative of Pine Bluff (G.R.I.P.) in order to help combat gang related crime in Jefferson County.

The committee for G.R.I.P. is headed by Jefferson County Sheriff Lafayette Woods, Jr., serving as chairman, in collaboration with Vice-Chairman Honorable Judge Earnest Brown, Jr., Pine Bluff School Superintendent Barbara Warren, the Pine Bluff Police Department, Sixth Division Circuit Court Eleventh Judicial District-West, and 15 other partners held its first meeting in October 2020.  The committee was designed to coalesce resources to address violent gang activity in Pine Bluff and Jefferson County.  An assessment and planning process were launched from which a gang-reduction strategic plan is being established.

Speaking with Deltaplex News, Sheriff Woods said that he is appreciative of the support it took to get this off of the ground.

Woods said that his deputies are ready to get to work on the initiative as well.

Not only will gang activity be targeted on the streets, it will also be targeted in local school districts where an uptick in violence has been seen recently.

While law enforcement will be stepping up to help combat these issues within the community, Woods says that community members are going to have to step up to help police their own communities as well.