Local task force looks at root causes of gun violence

Written by Kristin Rogers, Multimedia Journalist


CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) – Community leaders are coming together to combat gun violence.

The Safe, Equitable and Thriving Communities task force or SET formed in Cedar Rapids more than a year ago in response to a deadly shooting involving young people in the city.

The group works to look into the root cause of gun violence by addressing issues such as poverty and lack of resources, all in hope gun violence can come to an end in the community.

“In the last three or four days this nation has been rocked by incidents of gun violence, in some cases these incidents include African Americans being killed by police departments around the country and  we have an opportunity here in Cedar Rapids, as community leaders to get out ahead of this,” says Stacey Walker, Co-Chair of SET communities task force.

Shootings nationwide, most recently five police officers shot and killed in Dallas, making the issue of gun violence more apparent.

Leaders in the meeting noting, if there has ever been a time to talk about solutions, it’s now.

“What happened in Dallas is you know every officers nightmare and you know that’s what keeps me focused here is that you know whatever I can do and whatever the Cedar Rapids Police Department and the community in Cedar Rapids, whatever we can do to work together to continue to have positive police, community relationships is what we strive for,” says Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman.

While shootings have taken the nation by storm, shots are still firing locally with two reports of shots fired last week alone in Cedar Rapids.

“The shots fired and the gun violence situations those are symptoms of a greater underlying issue and you know what’s the root cause,” Jerman told us.

Finding the underlying issues is what the task force continues to address in wake of it all.

“If we want to solve something as complex as gun violence we have to look at all dimensions of the problem,” Walker says.

Some of the issues the task force looks into in hopes of solving the problem include education, housing and poverty.

The task force says they have seen improvements made and they ask the community be patient.

Agendas for the SET task force meetings can be found at:


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