BCJI Partnership discusses drug crime, improvement

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Jocelyn Gibson

Huntington Police Department Administrative Officer Rod Pell addresses the room Wednesday.

A community stakeholder discussion took place Wednesday in the Shawkey Dining Room of the Memorial Student Center to involve Marshall University in improving downtown and reducing crime and drug use.

“The overall goal is we want to work together with all of these different entities to establish a brand new Huntington-centric crime reduction and economic development program,” said Rod Pell, administrative officer at Huntington Police Department.

Founder and owner of Collective Impact Bruce Decker and Pell facilitated the discussion.

Collective Impact is a consulting firm that assists organizations and communities focus on their strengths and assets to solve problems.

The Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Cross-Sector Partnership, made up of stakeholders including the Huntington Police Department, Marshall University, the city of Huntington, Marshall University Center for Business and Economic Research, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Create Huntington, Collective Impact and local business leaders administered the discussion.

Suggestions for improvement discussed at the meeting ranged from the inclusion of a grocery store downtown to making the alleyways safer.

Student Government Association Vice President Izzy Rogner represented the organization at the event.

“When I come back as an alumni, I would like to see downtown Huntington and Marshall students more collaborated and have those empty apartment buildings upstairs above all of those beautiful businesses feed off of each other and have more community involvement and see more of Marshall downtown.”