July 29, 2022

Original story published in StLouis-Mo.gov.

ST. LOUIS – Today, Mayor Tishaura O. Jones will sign Board Bill 65, a public safety bill to establish the Office of Violence Prevention and dedicate nearly $13.6 million American Rescue Plan funding to community violence prevention and youth programs. Mayor Jones emphasized her commitment to create the new office in her April State of the City address.

“The Office of Violence Prevention will help coordinate resources across city departments – from deployment to violence intervention to citizen reentry programs – to streamline our efforts against crime,” said Mayor Tishaura O. Jones. “Fighting violent crime requires an all-hands-on-deck approach, and this new office will leverage every tool we have to keep our neighborhoods safe.” 

The Office of Violence Prevention will be housed under the Department of Public Safety, coordinating public safety resources and community violence intervention programs to make St. Louis neighborhoods safer. The office will also explore funding opportunities to help extend programs past the expiration of ARPA funds in 2026. Mayor’s Office Director of Children, Youth, and Families Wilford Pinkney Jr. will lead the Office of Violence Prevention. 

“Bringing together law enforcement, social service providers, and community groups under this innovative new office, we can make strides to prevent violence crime in St. Louis,” said Wil Pinkney, “I am honored to serve St. Louisans in this new role.”

With more than 30 years in criminal justice work promoting safety, education, and training, Pinkney currently serves as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Children, Youth, and Families for the City of St. Louis, helping lead the city’s efforts to reimagine public safety. He has overseen the development of a Crisis Management System focused on building healthy and vibrant communities by addressing trauma and increasing access to care. Prior to joining the administration, he served 20 years as a member of the New York City Police Department. He has also served as Chairperson of the School of Criminal Justice at Monroe College and taught public policy at both the undergraduate and graduate level. In 2018, Pinkney was a FUSE Executive Fellow leading a cross sector group of stakeholders in the development of a comprehensive pretrial reform plan in the City of St. Louis.

Pinkney holds a B.S. in Organizational Management from Mercy College, a Masters in Public Administration from New York University and a Master of Arts in Political Science from the CUNY Graduate Center. He is currently a doctoral candidate in Political Science at the CUNY Graduate Center where he specializes in public policy and American politics.

The Office of Violence prevention is authorized fully with today’s legislation. The office is working to fully staff up in the weeks and months ahead.