King County Executive Dow Constantine announced on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023 the creation of the Public Health – Seattle & King County Regional Office of Gun Violence Prevention to ensure comprehensive coordination and collaboration to address gun violence in King County.
The office will advance existing initiatives and programs, and expand Community Violence Intervention (CVI) services to Kent, Burien and Skyway in 2024.
Building on Executive Constantine’s 2021 declaration of gun violence as a public health emergency, King County launched the community-led Regional Peacekeepers Collective Initiative (RPKC) as an immediate strategy to address gun violence. King County’s efforts have been recognized by the White House for outstanding collaboration, multisector engagement, and comprehensive coordination throughout the community. The new Office will work closely with other National Offices of Violence Prevention and the White House’s newly formed Office of Gun Violence Prevention to leverage additional federal resources to combat gun violence.
“The pain of gun violence is all too familiar, and too many of our friends, family and neighbors are facing this preventable tragedy every day. Whether it’s a headline from around the country, or right here where we live, work and play, every act of gun violence is something we can stop from happening, but only if we work together,” Constantie said. “Our new office will connect us with the federal resources of the White House, serve as a hub for the region, and expand our local initiatives to ensure every community in King County can be safe from gun violence.”
Executive Constantine will also reconvene the Leadership Advisory Group in January, which is comprised of elected, business, and philanthropic leaders in the region to support the work of the new office. Additionally, the Seattle Seahawks will be hosting the Leadership Advisory Group and the annual Together We End Gun Violence Conference in 2024.
RPKC supports culturally responsive BIPOC-led community organizations that provide tailored intervention, prevention and restoration services. These include critical incident and hospital-based responses, intensive engagement and wrap-around life-affirming care and resources to individuals and families most impacted by gun violence and unjust systems.
Since 2021, Regional Peacekeepers Collective has:
- Enrolled over 375 young people have been in services.
- Supported over 200 families impacted by gun violence.
- Responded to 135 critical incidents and hosted over 250 community engagement events.
- Distributed over 700-gun lockboxes to increase awareness of the importance of safe storage.
As part of the National Office of Violence Prevention Network, the new office will work directly with community, secure additional resources, guide local efforts and implement nationally recognized strategies for Community Violence Intervention (CVI). The office will also launch a training academy to support the success and well-being of community-based workers on the frontlines.