Philadelphia City Council President Darrell L. Clarke and Sheriff Jewell Williams will appear together Sunday morning, September 25th at 11:30 a.m. on NBC 10 @ issue, a weekly news show that immediately follows "Meet The Press".  The two will discuss their joint "Got a Gun.  Get a Lock!" campaign that seeks to reduce incidents of accidental shootings, especially among children, by securing guns with gun locks given away free of charge, no questions asked.

Sheriff Jewell Williams recently named Deputy Sheriff Officer Robert Hunisch the Military Affairs Liaison for the sheriff’s office as part of its ongoing efforts of community outreach and education.

“Many veterans are returning from long campaigns overseas,” said Sheriff Williams, “and may have issues involving deeds, keeping up with mortgage payments, or looking to buy a property through a sheriff’s sale. We want to make sure they receive all the information necessary to aid in their readjustment”.

DSO Hunisch, who currently lives in South Philadelphia, served in Guantanamo Bay guarding some of the most dangerous terrorists in the world, and is an 8-year Army veteran who currently serves in the reserves.

“There are so many veterans out there who can use the help we are trying to provide,” he said, “and I can’t stress enough how important these outreach efforts are to helping soldiers get back to a normal life”.

According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, there are approximately 50,000 veterans nationwide who are homeless, and those veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are among the highest number of individuals who are losing their homes to foreclosure and/or taxes.

“We already sponsor numerous workshops and seminars to educate people on how to keep your home as well as how to purchase a home and it’s our goal to get as much of this information out as possible”, said Sheriff Williams, “and dedicated deputies like Hunisch are helping us do just that”.

For more information contact Joseph Blake at 215-495-4174.


Published by The Philadelphia Sun.

Angel Lee was pregnant when she moved to the LGBTQ Home for Hope in North Philadelphia nearly six months ago. A man who refused to believe her sexual orientation had raped her.

She decided to keep the baby, whom she delivered this past Tuesday, naming her Sky Sakina Barnes Lee.

Before giving birth, Lee shared her story Sept. 1 with eight representatives from the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office. They had come to the shelter on North Hutchinson Street to celebrate its one-year anniversary.

In that time, the home has hosted city, state and federal officials. It’s the first shelter for LGBT homeless people in Philadelphia.

Deputy Sheriff Dante Austin, one of two LGBT liaisons in the sheriff’s office, organized the anniversary visit. John Hodges, a civilian employee and the other LGBT liaison, also attended.

“I really want these officers to get to know the community,” Austin, an openly gay deputy, told the residents, “not in a cell and not in a courtroom. These statistics and these definitions are nice, but if they don’t know you, they won’t care.”

After Lee shared her story, the officers brought in bundles of baby supplies. Lee held back tears0 and, while posing for photos later, she joked, “I’m actually touching a cop without getting in trouble.”

Lee will have to leave the Home for Hope now that she has given birth. The shelter is not equipped to house an infant, officials said. She’s not sure yet where she will move. But she said she would still visit the residents.

“We’re a family here,” said Anya Martin, who has lived at the home for a year.

At the hour-long celebration, several residents shared their coming-out stories and experiences with law enforcement. Austin also talked about how the sheriff’s deputies had supported the LGBT community in the field.

For each person living in the Home for Hope, 38 officers sponsored 38 bags of donations. They included sheets, pillows and blankets, along with an array of toiletries. Austin also asked each officer to write a personalized note to the resident who would receive each bag. He included a statement from Sheriff Jewell Williams and a description of the work he’s doing as LGBT liaison.

Chief Sheriff Deputy Kevin Lamb said the office is so much more educated about the LGBT community because of Austin.

Deja Lynn Alvarez, director of the Home for Hope, said she was happy to have the sheriff’s office representatives spend time at the shelter and get to know the residents.

“It’s kind of hard to believe that it’s been a year,” she said, “with no real financial backing.”

Donations cover the expenses, which Alvarez said in July can run $8,000-$9,000 a month.

“It really sets in like, we’re still here, we’re still full,” Alvarez continued. “Our first year has been difficult. I feel like our second year will be better.”

Sakina Dean, the owner of the Home for Hope, said she’d like to purchase the 15-bedroom, nine-bathroom former convent. Its current owner, Northstar Manor Inc., has agreed to a price of $250,000, which is half of the place’s market value, according to Philadelphia property records.

Standing out front, facing the large side yard, Dean pointed out where she would eventually like to see a youth shelter and affordable housing. Alvarez would like to get experts to offer workshops on life coaching and personal finances.

“It has been a journey,” Dean said of the Home for Hope’s first year. “Through faith and through our mission, I believe it’s going to continue to be a success.”

For more information or to support the home, visit http://ow.ly/Jnjs302onH1.


Written by Paige Cooperstein for the Philadelphia Gay News.

The compelling theme of “Got a gun? Get a lock” is resonating with many people who are requesting gun locks—no questions asked—from the Office of the Sheriff of Philadelphia City & County.

“It’s great that we are getting this kind of response,” said Sheriff Jewell Williams. “The number one reason we have joined with City Council President Darrell Clarke and the District Attorney’s office is to get ANY gun in a household securely locked for safety reasons”.

Since the gun lock campaign kicked off at Temple University earlier this month, there have been several events, including a peace march in conjunction with Deliverance Evangelistic Church at 23rd & Lehigh Avenue, in which the sheriff and other elected officials literally handed out gun locks themselves.”

“It’s important that the people see leadership in a leadership role,” said Councilman Clarke recently on the “The Roundup,” the monthly radio show hosted by Sheriff Williams on WURD.

To receive a gun lock, you can either pick one up at the front desk of the sheriff’s office on the 5th Floor of 100 S. Broad street between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., or call our hotline number at 215-686-3572. Leave your name, number and address and someone from the sheriff’s office will quickly be in touch with you.

“We transport more than 500 people per day back and forth between the courts and the prisons,” said Sheriff Williams, “and many are charged with crimes involving guns. Before anger gets to a point of reaching for a gun, if that gun is in a lock, it provides at least a few seconds for an individual to change their mind about firing that weapon, and makes it almost impossible to fire if found, and handled by a child. Got a gun—get a lock”.

A bill was recently enacted by City Council entitled the “Responsibility to Avoid Possession and Discharge of Firearms by Children” act (introduced by Council President Clarke) that requires all firearms in homes with children under the age of 18 to be kept unloaded and stored in a locked container, with the ammunition in a separate locked container. The exception would be when the firearm or ammunition is in the "immediate control" of a person with a license to carry a gun.

Gun-owning Philadelphians need to know about a new law requiring their safe storage in your residence if minors are living with you. That means equipping guns with gun locks.

The bill was introduced last April by Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke, following a number of high-profile preventable tragedies involving children with firearms across the country. Approximately 265 children gained access to a firearm not equipped with a safety lock, and shot someone else or themselves.

Meeting at Temple University Hospital, whose emergency rooms have witnessed a heavy share of such accidents, on Aug. 1, to spread the word were City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, Council Safety Chair Curtis Jones, Jr., Sheriff Jewell Williams, District Attorney Seth Williams, Temple Hospital officials and several community anti-gun-violence groups.

Kicking off the program was the announcement gun locks would be distributed to gun owners at several National Night Out locations in the city Aug. 1 and 2. (For more information on gun locks, owners may call the distribution hotline at (215) 686-3572.)

Clarke said, “Philadelphians are required to keep firearms and ammunition locked away out of the reach of any minors present in the home. This bill was necessary since Pennsylvania is one of 47 states that lack safe-storage laws, despite a number of high-profile tragedies involving children accessing deadly weapons.

“There are few things more outrageous than the death of a child by her own hands or the hands of a playmate or sibling, simply because adults did not act responsibly and keep guns locked far out of reach,” Clarke said. “Children who die in these entirely preventable tragedies are not the only victims: The children who pulled the trigger and the adults who failed to keep them safe must live with an indescribable shame for the rest of their lives. Keeping guns safely stored away from kids is inexpensive and easy, and I’m grateful to our partners for making these gun locks freely available to the public.”

“Gun violence is an epidemic in the city of Philadelphia,” said Amy Goldberg, MD, FACS, professor and chair of the Dept. of Surgery at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, surgeon-in-chief for Temple University Health System, and medical director of perioperative services at Temple University Hospital. “We’ve seen too many incidents where children have access to guns and accidently shoot others or themselves. One life is too many and whatever we can do to preserve a life is a step in the right direction.”“As an army officer and a Philadelphian, and most importantly as a dad, I know guns in the hands of people who should not have them can cause accidents, injuries and sometimes death,” said DA Williams. “It is an honor to stand with this coalition. I look forward to continuing to work with this team, and anyone else, who can help us distribute and advocate for the use of gun locks so we can do the important work of saving lives.”

“Sadly, as evidenced by the number of gun victims that are treated here at Temple and throughout Philadelphia, we are a city that is awash in firearms,” said Scott Charles, MAPP, trauma outreach coordinator at Temple University Hospital. “It is difficult for most people to comprehend the kind of damage that bullets do to the adult human body. The kind of devastation they cause small children is truly unthinkable. We have an obligation to protect our most vulnerable citizens from this kind of suffering and death.”

Approximately 1,000 gun locks were given away over two days of National Night Out events beginning Monday. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, there were more than 10,500 reported deaths from unintentional shootings from 1999 to 2014, of which 2,366 were deaths of minors. From 2001 to 2013, more than 215,000 nonfatal unintentional firearms injuries were reported, of which approximately 55,000 were injuries to minors.

“As part of our anti-crime efforts, giving away free gun locks to secure weapons, will make children safer in their own homes,” said Jones.

Also in attendance for the announcement at Temple University Hospital were Dr. Larry Kaiser, president & CEO, Temple University Health System; Dorothy Johnson Speight, Mothers in Charge; Bilal Qayyum, Father’s Day Rally Committee; Sandy Sheller, Sheller Family Foundation; Shira Goodman, CeaseFirePA; Rev. Bonnie Camarda, the Salvation Army; and representatives of Philadelphia CeaseFire.locked away out of the reach of any minors present in the home. This bill was necessary: Pennsylvania is one of 47 states that lack safe-storage laws, despite a number of high-profile tragedies involving children accessing deadly weapons.

“There are few things more outrageous than the death of a child by their own hand or the hands of a playmate or sibling, simply because adults did not act responsibly and keep guns locked far out of reach,” Clarke said. “Children who die in these entirely preventable tragedies are not the only victims: The children who pulled the trigger and the adults who failed to keep them safe must live with an indescribable shame for the rest of their lives. Keeping guns safely stored away from kids is inexpensive and easy, and I’m grateful to our partners for making these gun locks freely available to the public.”

Sheriff Williams added, “A gun lock is a tool that can be used to keep the public safe, including children and inexperienced gun-owners, regardless of whether the weapon is registered or not. The message is all about gun safety for everyone and saving lives. Got a gun? Get a gun lock!”

“As an army officer and a Philadelphian, and most importantly, as a dad, I know guns in the hands of people who should not have them can cause accidents, injuries and sometimes death,” said DA Williams. “It is an honor to stand with this coalition. I look forward to continuing to work with this team, and anyone else, who can help us distribute and advocate for the use of gun locks so we can do the important work of saving lives.”

“Gun violence is an epidemic in the city of Philadelphia,” said Amy Goldberg, MD, FACS, professor and chair of the Dept. of Surgery at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, surgeon-in-chief for Temple University Health System, and medical director of perioperative services at Temple University Hospital. “We’ve seen too many incidents where children have access to guns and accidently shoot others or themselves. One life is too many and whatever we can do to preserve a life is a step in the right direction.”

“Sadly, as evidenced by the number of gun victims that are treated here at Temple and throughout Philadelphia, we are a city that is awash in firearms,” said Scott Charles, MAPP, trauma outreach coordinator at Temple University Hospital. “It is difficult for most people to comprehend the kind of damage that bullets do to the adult human body. The kind of devastation they cause small children is truly unthinkable. We have an obligation to protect our most vulnerable citizens from this kind of suffering and death.”

Approximately 1,000 gun locks were given away over two days of National Night Out events beginning Monday. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, there were more than 10,500 reported deaths from unintentional shootings from 1999 to 2014, of which 2,366 were deaths of minors. From 2001 to 2013, more than 215,000 nonfatal unintentional firearms injuries were reported, of which approximately 55,000 were injuries to minors.

“As part of our anti-crime efforts, giving away free gun locks to secure weapons, will make children safer in their own homes,” said Jones.

Also in attendance for the announcement at Temple University Hospital were Dr. Larry Kaiser, president & CEO, Temple University Health System; Dorothy Johnson Speight, Mothers in Charge; Bilal Qayyum, Father’s Day Rally Committee; Sandy Sheller, Sheller Family Foundation; Shira Goodman, CeaseFirePA; Rev. Bonnie Camarda, the Salvation Army; and representatives of the Philadelphia branch of CeaseFirePA.


The Philadelphia Public Record

Got a gun—get a lock.

That was the prevailing message given by Sheriff Jewell Williams today at a press conference at Temple University Hospital to announce the coming together of several entities pushing for the use of gun locks, and stressing how even a few seconds between pulling the trigger and thinking about it can possibly save a life.

The press conference was held at the Ontario East Lobby of Temple University Hospital, literally just yards from the emergency ward and trauma center where so many of the victims of gun violence are treated in Philadelphia.

“We transport more than 500 people per day back and forth between the courts and the prisons,” said Sheriff Williams, “and many are charged with crimes involving guns.  Before anger gets to a point of reaching for a gun, if that gun is in a lock, it provides at least a few seconds an individual may change their mind about firing that weapon, and makes it almost impossible to fire if found, and handled by a child. Got a gun—get a lock”.

Sheriff Williams stood with City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, City Council Public Safety Chair Curtis Jones, Jr., District Attorney Seth Williams, Scott Charles of the Cradle to Grave Program, Temple University’s Dr. Amy Goldberg, Shira Goodman of CeaseFire PA, Dorothy Johnson Speight of Mothers in Charge, and Bilal Quayyum of the Father’s Day Rally Committee in calling for more awareness of gun safety.

“This hospital (Temple University),” is ground zero for trauma patients,” said City Council President Clarke.  “It is the place where so many people come after being shot”.

  A bill was recently enacted by City Council entitled the “Responsibility to Avoid Possession and Discharge of Firearms by Children” act (introduced by Council President Clarke) that requires all firearms in homes with children under the age of 18 to be kept unloaded and stored in a locked container, with the ammunition in a separate locked container. The exception would be when the firearm or ammunition is in the "immediate control" of a person with a license to carry a gun.

Meanwhile, free gun locks will be passed today by the Office of the Sheriff of Philadelphia City & County as part of its National Night Out kickoff initiative, at Fair Hill Square Park, 4th Street and Lehigh Avenue from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and at the Rose Playground, 75th and Lansdowne Avenue from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Free gun locks will also be passed out on August 2nd at:

  • 32nd and Cumberland Streets from 5 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
  • 53rd and Parkside Avenue from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • 2300 N. 17th Street from 6 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. 

"Got a gun, get a lock."

That's the motto of a new initiative by Philadelphia City Council, law enforcement agencies and those working to reduce deadly violence to encourage gun owners to lock their weapons.

The Philadelphia sheriff's office expects to give out more than 500 free gun locks Monday during National Night Out events and plans to distribute thousands more in the weeks to come.

During a news conference announcing the effort Monday morning, Council President Darrell Clarke said anyone can get one — no questions asked.

"We are not going to ask you to show ID or registration for your weapon because, frankly speaking, if someone wants to lock an illegal gun, I'm OK with that," he said. The city has spent about $2,000 purchasing gun locks so far, according to Clarke's spokeswoman Jane Roh.

Clarke and other advocates said the effort would help prevent children from accidentally shooting themselves or others — in June, a 4-year-old from North Philadelphia died after shooting herself in the head. Monday morning, Philadelphia police said a 5-year-old in Germantown shot himself in the hand and was reported in stable condition.

"It just takes a few seconds to unlock that gun," said Shira Goodman with Ceasefire PA. "But for the person who is contemplating suicide or is angry or is depressed at that moment, the couple seconds it takes to unlock that gun could mean the difference between their life and death or somebody else's."

Gun owners who would like a free lock can get one by calling the city's Safe Storage Hotline, 215-686-3572, even if the weapon was purchased illegally or is not registered.

Free gun locks will also be distributed during National Night Out events at the following locations:

Fair Hill Square Park
4th and Lehigh Street
Monday
5 to 8 p.m.

Rose Playground
North 75th Street and Lansdowne Avenue
Monday
6 to 8:30 p.m.

32nd and Cumberland streets
Tuesday
5 to 8:45 p.m.


Written by Katie Colaneri for Newsworks.

If you own a gun, Philadelphia Sheriff Jewell Williams wants you to put a lock on it. The sheriff said if guns are locked up, a child, or a person who is angry or suicidal, is less likely to harm themselves or someone else.

 

To promote gun safety—and recognize National Night Out, held each year on the first Tuesday evening in August — Williams announced plans by he and City Council members to distribute approximately 500 free gun locks during three National Night Out events around the city last night and tonight, Aug. 2. The location for tonight’s give-away is 32nd and Cumberland streets, 5 p.m. — 8:45 p.m., in cooperation with the Strawberry Mansion Faith-Based Coalition.

“A gun lock is a tool that can be used to keep the public safe, including children and inexperienced gun owners, regardless of whether the weapon is registered or not,” Williams said. “The message is all about gun safety for everyone, and saving lives.”

Williams spoke during an announcement of a Safe Storage initiative Monday morning at Temple University Hospital. Several entities came together, including Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke, City Council Public Safety Chair and Councilman Curtis Jones Jr., Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams, Temple’s Health System and its Cradle to Grave Program, Mothers in Charge, CeaseFirePA, the Father’s Day Rally Committee and the Sheller Family Foundation. Clarke introduced a law earlier this year that requires firearms and ammunition to be locked away, out of reach from minors.

“There are few things more outrageous than the death of a child by her own hands or the hands of a playmate or sibling, simply because adults did not act responsibly and keep guns locked far out of reach,” Clarke said. “Children who die in these entirely preventable tragedies are not the only victims. The children who pulled the trigger and the adults who failed to keep them safe must live with an indescribable shame for the rest of their lives.”

The aim of Safe Storage is to give away free gun locks for gun owners — who have guns legally or illegally — and for them to lock up their guns, especially if they have young children in the home. The event promotes neighborhood engagement, public safety and police and community partnerships.

“Locks work,” said CeaseFirePa Executive Director Shira Goodman, whose organization works with people and communities to stand against gun violence. “Obviously a lock doesn’t work if you don’t lock it up.”

Almost three decades ago, Temple University Hospital’s Dr. Amy Goldberg was a young surgical resident when a 4-year-old boy arrived with gunshot wounds to his upper body and was in cardiac arrest.

“We opened his chest and did our best to reverse the devastation caused by the bullets,” said Goldberg, surgeon-in-chief at Temple University’s Health System. “Well, we were unable to save him. He was shot by his older brother with a gun that was left unattended and unsecured in their home. So many tragedies occurred that day and continue to occur in our neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia.”

And again just last week, Goldberg said a 10-year-old girl was shot in North Philadelphia and brought into the hospital.

“Hard to call her lucky after being shot, but she sustained a wound to her arm only and will live,” Goldberg said. “Unfortunately, we here at Temple, as well as the other trauma centers across the city, know far too well the damage that gun violence produces.”

Goldberg continued, “Our patients are killed, left paralyzed from the neck or waist down, unable to walk, breathe on their own or care for themselves. They are left with colostomy wounds that need to be cared for and they are forever changed both physically and mentally, but wounds from guns, guns left unattended, these deaths and injuries can be prevented and must be prevented.”

Councilman Jones, who represents the 4th District, told the audience that he knew of at least 12 or more people who have been shot or killed by guns.

“This gun lock program is essential,” Jones said. “Gun locks add an additional step, an additional thought, an additional action that may prevent someone from doing something that they may regret for the rest of their life.”

Dorothy Johnson-Speight, founder and national executive director of the nonprofit Mothers In Charge, said she knows gun locks isn’t a panacea for gun violence, but acknowledged that it’s a step in the right direction.

“So many lives are being lost today and especially of young children, when they get their hands on guns and there is no lock on them,” said Johnson-Speight, whose son was murdered in 2001. “We want to be out of business; we don’t want mothers to keep coming to our organization because they have to bury their sons and daughters to violence.”

According to the website for the National Association of Town Watch, called National Night Out.


Written by Ryanne Persinger for the Philadelphia Tribune.

National Night Out is one of my favorite community events.

 This year it has taken on a deeper meaning as neighborhoods across the country join local law enforcement and politicians in conveying a message of unity to promote safety and awareness as major crime fighters.

Considering the recent tumultuous events in Texas, Minnesota and Louisiana, one can easily become cynical and place little faith in the notion that communities and law enforcement officers charged with protecting them, are so far apart they will never come together.

In Philadelphia, however, National Night Out is both serious and festive as sheriff officers, and local and state police alike all participate in an evening of information sharing, shaking hands, music, food and genuinely enjoying the moment.

I expect to see the same on August 2nd as I and several of my officers go from one community event to another on narrow streets, parks, and recreation centers to celebrate and recognize that we are all in this together.

Dwight Eisenhower once said that: “This world of ours... must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.”

As we all pause, and rightly so, to reflect on what is currently happening in our nation, let’s also not forget the struggles and challenges we’ve overcome as a people to get to this point.

No, I don’t expect a tsunami of warmth and forgiveness to flow over the country on August 2nd, but I do anticipate the purpose, dedication, and focus hat comes with National Night Out to be a buttress for the hope and optimism that is the essence of the event.

So, please join me in volunteering some of your time on August 2nd to sit with your neighbors, mingle with local law enforcement, and have conversations that bring us all forward with understanding and patience.