Monday, February 22, 2016

Task force seeking public input on Knox County safety center proposal

Knox County leaders want the public to weigh in on a plan to combat issues of chronic mental illness, substance abuse and jail overcrowding.

For years, officials have engaged in talks to build a safety center that houses and treats the mentally ill who are arrested for nonviolent crimes. The current proposal is to create the Knox County Safety Center.

Vivian Underwood-Shipe is the community representative on the safety center task force. The group is comprised of county commissioners and members of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney General’s Office.

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She is overseeing a survey to get the public's input.

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“I just wanted to put together something brief so that the community would have a way to provide us input,” she said. “The safety center is something we definitely need. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but we have to do it right.”

She said the task force will talk about the results of the survey when it meets again at 1 p.m. on March 14 in the Large Assembly Room of the City County Building.

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