Monday, November 20, 2017
Public safety

Derrick Brooks encourages youth leaders at Tampa crime prevention conference

RECOMMENDED READING


TAMPA — They know him from their old football video games, a powerful player to draft onto their teams.

But former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks stood in front of a group of students Thursday to issue a real-life challenge: Be a role model.

"A commitment must be made," he repeated throughout his speech.

Brooks joined local leaders and law enforcement officials in encouraging teens to take initiative in improving their communities. The panel of speakers kicked off the 27th National Conference on Preventing Crime in the Black Community, which continues today at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel.

"I want you to hear different noises besides gunshots," Brooks said. "I want you to hear people clapping because you're walking into a room, and you're being honored."

Derrick Brooks Charities works with the state to offer youth and "black-on-black" crime prevention programs.

Tampa police Chief Jane Castor offered this statistic: Even as overall crime declines, 11 out of the city's 27 homicides last year resulted from black-on-black crime, she said.

It's an "epidemic," said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. It's "fratricide" — brothers killing brothers.

"I'm tired of going to funerals," he said. "I'm tired of doing gun buy-backs."

The promise of change, the speakers agreed, lies with young people. Officials emphasized the importance of education, leadership, teamwork and giving back.

They also called on communities to support youths.

"If you can reach one child, you can change their lives," said Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. "That could be our next president. Or our next attorney general."

Over two days of workshops led by law enforcement officials, adults and teens will engage in sessions covering trends, empowerment strategies and decision-making.

Middleton High senior Matthew Godwin, 18, said he hears over and over how "most black people won't make it."

But the conference — and Brooks in particular — inspired him: "I want to be the person to prove that you can be anything you want to be," Godwin said.

At the end of Thursday's welcome, Brooks took up each speaker's call to action. He pledged to reach out to children before they encountered the Department of Juvenile Justice. He promised to help second-time offenders emerging from the Department of Corrections.

And Brooks told the mayor he would find a cure to the epidemic.

Stephanie Wang can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 661-2443.

Comments

Stolen car crashes in St. Pete, leaving passenger, 15, with life threatening injuries

Two boys in a stolen car struck a dip in the roadway and crashed into a tree, leaving the 15-year-old passenger with life-threatening injuries, St. Petersburg police said.The crash occurred about 11:25 a.m. Sunday as the car sped west on 11th Avenue ...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Search suspended for missing Cortez boater who left from Egmont Key

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for a missing 63-year-old boater on Sunday evening, two days after he and his dog were reported missing 5 miles northwest of Mead Point, just inland from Anna Maria Island.On Friday, Fraser Horne of Cortez le...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Two unhurt after small plane clips tree during emergency landing in Clearwater (w/ video)

Two unhurt after small plane clips tree during emergency landing in Clearwater (w/ video)

CLEARWATER — Two men walked away unhurt from a small airplane after it clipped a tree and spun around as the pilot tried to make an emergency landing on Keene Road, deputies said.Pilot Marc Benedict, 61, and passenger Gregory Guinee, 55, of Clearwate...
Updated: 9 hours ago
On the night shift in Seminole Heights, Tampa police keep watch for a killer

On the night shift in Seminole Heights, Tampa police keep watch for a killer

TAMPATampa Police Lt. Gary Neal is almost halfway into his shift when the shots ring out.He jumps into his white 2016 Dodge Charger and races the few blocks from District 3 headquarters to the scene of a drive-by shooting in a city rattled by a strin...
Published: 11/18/17
Tampa couple recounts wrong-way DUI crash on Courtney Campbell Causeway

Tampa couple recounts wrong-way DUI crash on Courtney Campbell Causeway

TAMPA — Police arrested a 26-year-old man they say drove the wrong way while drunk and caused a multi-vehicle crash that injured several people late Friday on the Courtney Campbell Causeway.Collin John Cole faces two counts of driving under the influ...
Published: 11/18/17
Boater missing in waters north of Bradenton, dog found alive

Boater missing in waters north of Bradenton, dog found alive

CORTEZ — The Coast Guard and others are scouring the waters near Mead Point, just inland from Anna Maria Island, for a 63-year-old boater who has been missing since Friday evening. Fraser Horne of Cortez left Egmont Key on his 30-foot boat, Golden Ru...
Published: 11/18/17
Romano: Hunting for a deadly needle in the Seminole Heights haystack

Romano: Hunting for a deadly needle in the Seminole Heights haystack

During the day, you hear from the psychics and the kooks. The well-intentioned tipsters, and the unsolicited profilers. This is all part of serial killer spillover, a sort of cottage industry of macabre.It gets tougher at night when you’re hounded by...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/18/17

Possible wrong-way crash on Courtney Campbell Causeway late Friday

TAMPA — A multi-vehicle crash on the Courtney Campbell Causeway late Friday may have been caused by a driver traveling in the wrong direction, Tampa police said.The crash occurred in the eastbound lanes closer to the Tampa side of the causeway, near ...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/18/17
Tampa police investigate drive-by shooting in Seminole Heights

Tampa police investigate drive-by shooting in Seminole Heights

TAMPA — Police took one person into custody late Friday after a drive-by shooting ended in Seminole Heights.The incident, which unfolded about 11 p.m., did not appear to be related to the spate of other recent shootings in Seminole Heights that have ...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/18/17

Man hit, killed while crossing U.S. 19 in Palm Harbor

PALM HARBOR — A pedestrian died after he was hit by a vehicle Friday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.The man, who was not identified, was crossing U.S. 19 from west to east, north of Tampa Road in Palm Harbor about 8:30 p.m., troopers ...
Published: 11/17/17