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March against violence set for April 21

In my March 2010 newspaper article, I wrote about a new organization in Albany called “Stop the Violence, T.A.K.I.N.G. A.U.T.H.O.R.I.T.Y.” I spoke about the events that led up to the forming of this organization and the organization’s goals to support our youth and build unity in Albany and Dougherty County.

During the past two years, this grass-roots organization has worked diligently and aggressively to address the crime and violence that plagues our community. They have continued to meet on Tuesday mornings at 10 a.m. at the Gethsemane Worship Center located at 529 10th Ave. Many business owners, pastors and concerned citizens have partnered with the organization.

With two years under its belt, the STV organization wants to make a greater impact in dealing with crime and violence. I have been asked to co-chair, alongside with Bishop Frederick Williams, a Crime Awareness March and Rally, which will take place Saturday, April 21st at 10 a.m. The goal of this event is to create an awareness of the negative effect that crime and violence has had on our families and community. We also want to use this event to encourage those who may have given up hope, or feel that nobody cares about them anymore; to let them know that there are people working to make their lives better.

Crime and violence has led to the destruction of many families, higher taxes, industries leaving Albany, and higher incarceration rates. As a result, all citizens of Albany and Dougherty County are suffering. As sheriff of Dougherty County, I am personally asking you to set aside the morning of Saturday, April 21, 2012, and attend this event. STV has been making inroads with the children and teenagers of Dougherty County, but we need more adults to step up and support this cause. We need you to help us in our efforts to take back our neighborhoods.

If you are interested in participating, please attend a Tuesday morning meeting prior to the event for more detailed information. If you are not able to attend a Tuesday morning meeting, you may assemble at one of four designated locations between 9:30 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. on the morning of the event. The four locations used as starting points for the march will be the Shackleford Shopping Center, the Civic Center, the Thronateeska Heritage Center and the 400 block of Pine Avenue. You may park in the rear parking lot behind the courthouse at 9:30 a.m. and catch a shuttle bus to one of the four locations.

The march will begin at 10 a.m. from each location and conclude at the Governmental Building at 222 Pine Ave., where we will hear from dynamic speakers who will touch on various concerns and issues that are plaguing our community. Several organizations will be on hand to offer resources and assistance to concerned citizens. There will also be free food and prizes.

I hope that you join me and other concerned individuals in standing up for a better and safer Albany and Dougherty County. For more information, please contact the STV organization at (229) 436-0009 or my office at (229) 430-6508.

Sheriff Kevin Sproul is a longtime resident of Dougherty County. He is a graduate of Albany High School, Darton College and LaGrange College of Albany. Sproul has been employed with the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office since 1982 and can be reached at (229) 430-6508.