Chief James Craig teaches students at Mt. Washington Elementary about illegal guns

L.I.V.E. program aims to create safe communities

CINCINNATI - Just a day after he joined the call for stronger gun laws, Cincinnati Police Chief James Craig taught students about gun safety.

Craig met with students at Mt. Washington Elementary on Friday afternoon as part of a L.I.V.E. Cincinnati program event.

On Thursday, Craig held a press conference to voice his support for stronger gun laws.

L.I.V.E. is an education program created by the Hamilton County Juvenile Court in conjunction with the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office, the Cincinnati Police Department and Cincinnati Public Schools to teach children what to do if they come in contact with an illegal gun.

L.I.V.E. stands for Leave the area, Involve an adult, Victim -- don't be one and Educate your friends.

"The goal is to save lives," Chief Craig said.

Officials said the program brings parents, children, teenagers, educators, law enforcement and parents of slain children together to help create safe communities.

During the program, Craig and other community leaders spoke to groups of fifth through eighth graders.

"Tell someone if you find a gun, tell someone. Tell a school administrator. We want you to live. We want you to educate your friends, your schoolmates. That's important. Certainly, this is just one of many strategies in keeping our young people alive. This is very important so I applaud the work of the prosecutor's office and the fact that we're involved in and CPS is always willing to work with us in any kind of youth initiative that we have -- especially keeping our youth community safe," Chief Craig said.

Volunteers said they hope to teach the kids early before they get into high school.

"This is a great time because you're talking about fifth and sixth graders and the next step is high school and we're doing work in our high schools too, because we have to continually remind our young people on making better choices -- better decisions," Chief Craig said.

The program has been to 20 schools so far and the message has reached thousands of students.

"One homicide, one shooting, is just one too many. And while there are those out there who would suggest this police chief wants to talk guns away from good Americans, that's absolutely not true. We've got to be practical. We've got to think about the lost lives in Sandy Hook. We've got to think about the fact that it was a person, possibly suffering from mental illness. We have got to do better. We have got to do more. This is not a partisan issue. This is about saving lives," Chief Craig said.

The students also got to see a 15 minute from video from kids who have gotten in trouble with guns. The message of the video was "don't' be like me."

WCPO reporters spoke with several children at the school who said they had encountered illegal guns.

"I was actually out with my friends and we were going to the park. My friend was riding a bike and this guy came up trying to rob him and he had a gun. He pointed it at my friend's face, so we both ran and I called the police," sixth-grader Adriyan Minor said. It was very, very, very scary. I felt like I was in shock, where I started to cry."

At the end of program, the students signed pledge to "live by L.I.V.E."

More information on the L.I.V.E. program can be found at www.livecincinnati.org .

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