In 2002, Project Safe Neighborhood came to Fayetteville under the Operation Ceasefire name. The program is part of a national initiative that was started under the Bush Administration in 2001. It is rooted in successes from programs that were implemented in Boston, Mass., and Richmond, Va., in the late 1990s.
On June 6, at J.S. Spivey Rec Center, Operation Ceasefire presents Escape from Planet Earth. The movie is free and open to the public. It starts at 7:30 p.m. Bring a blanket or chair to sit on and enjoy an evening with friends.
According to the Operation Ceasefire website, the goal is “To improve the quality of life for all residents of Fayetteville/Cumberland County by reducing gun and gang violence in our community.” Lisa Jayne is a part of the Fayetteville Police Department and serves as the Operation Ceasefire Coordinator; she describes Operation Ceasefire as having three core elements, “intervention, suppression and prevention.”
The intervention component comes from a series of meetings Jayne refers to as “Call-ins.” “We work with Probation Parole; they send us about 100 parolees that are currently on probation or parole for gun crimes … That list gets narrowed down to around 30 individuals. We meet at Kingdom Impact Ministries as the faith based aspect is a part of Ceasefire, too. The parolees are given an appointment for a follow-up assessment with me. They are then put into a resource room … to provide education resources, jobs, healthcare, anything that people with felony convictions on their records have a hard time with. I also have speakers who have been there and done that… to give them some hope for how things can be turned around. After the speakers, there is a panel of all the law enforcement agencies of the area, from federal to state; they give them some tough love.”
Suppression is a joint effort between local and federal law enforcement. From Jayne, “We have a very strong relationship with Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms... Any cases, tips, or anything done at the state level, we funnel it through the ATF to see if they can take the case federally. Federal sentences are much longer than state sentences … you don’t get out for good behavior… there is no parole or early release.”
Jayne says that prevention is accomplished by a number of initiatives including the Movie Night program, “In 2007, we purchased outdoor movie equipment … We go into neighborhoods that are disadvantaged with a free movie, popcorn and soda. The police are on hand, while the children are watching a movie … if the public wants to talk to the police about a certain area where they may see a problem or if there are people causing problems. It is over two hours of face-to-face time in a non-threatening, laid back and family atmosphere.” The program also utilizes a gang detective that goes and does presentations about gangs that are just for adults. To promote gun safety, gun locks are distributed at no charge to anyone who owns a gun that also has children.
For more information about Operation Ceasefire and any of its programs, including the Movie Night schedule, visit their website at www.ceasefire.ci.fayetteville.nc.us. Program Coordinator Lisa Jayne is available to provide information on the program, volunteering and donation opportunities at 910-433-1017 or LJayne@ci.fay.nc.us.