A City Councilor said he wants to look into “sacrificing” some of the police department’s multimillion-dollar overtime budget and put that money toward agencies that work to prevent crime from occurring.

Councilor Charles Yancey made the comment during a hearing yesterday on services available to victims of community violence. “If we’re going to prioritize resources, it seems like we should be putting resources where they are preventing violence,” he said.

After hearing from Chris Byner, who heads the city’s street workers program, Yancey said he was aiming to propose a measure that would increase the number of street workers in the city.
Byner said the street workers try to form relationships with young people — some with gang affiliations — to prevent violent incidents.

The workers will also respond to crime scenes or hospitals where a victim was taken and talk with family members and friends to steer them toward services that can help them grieve.

Yancey praised Byner’s program for helping to strengthen the community with a total budget less than the overtime of the police department.