PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Reverend J.W Matt Hennessee said he believes things will be different this time as the PPB’s Focused Intervention Team hits the streets Wednesday.
Hennessee, the senior pastor at Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church, also leads the Interfaith Peace and Action Collaborative. A few members sit on the FIT oversight council, which he said is an important aspect to this new effort.
FIT essentially replaces the Gun Violence Reduction Team, which was curtailed in 2020.
“The group around our table are faith people, are business people, are just community people who say ‘I care and I want to do something different,'” he said. “And my goal and passion is about everyone working together to actually bring down the amount of violence we see on the street.”
He also has a background in public administration, public safety and has lived in Portland more than half his life. Hennessee said he wants FIT to be transparent. In the past, he said, there has not been enough community involvement.
The Interfaith Peace and Action Collaborative opened the table for conversation for people to offer recommendations for reducing violence.