YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — City police Wednesday announced a new anti-crime initiative that would allow them to conduct saturation patrols with help from state and federal law enforcement agencies. They also announced they are increasing the reward offered for information in the slaying of a 10-year-old last month.

Mayor Jamael Tito Brown and police Chief Carl Davis announced the new initiative, dubbed the Impact Initiative, at a press conference at the Covelli Centre. The press conference was in sight of members of the union representing patrol officers holding an informational picket this week to highlight their disapproval of low starting wages and the time it takes to get maximum pay.

Davis said federal agencies involved include the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives while state agencies taking part include the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Adult Parole Authority and the Ohio Investigative Unit.

They will help augment city police in conducting saturation patrols in areas that see high levels of drug crimes and gun violence, Davis said. He said he could not comment on the logistics of the operation, but he did say the operation has no end date. He did not say when it will be starting, either.

“We will conduct aggressive saturation patrols,” Davis said. “We will focus on elevated levels of crime with gun violence and drugs.”

Capt. Jason Simon, who is helping to put the patrols together and was recently assigned as chief of detectives, said the patrols are not based on the “zero tolerance” philosophy as past saturation efforts have been. He said the goal is to make high-quality arrests for felonies, especially drug and gun felonies.

“They’re looking for the root cause of these crimes, not to especially write tickets,” Simon said.

The past two years have seen a dramatic increase in violence in Youngstown.

The city ended 2019 with 58 people shot, 19 fatally. That skyrocketed in 2020 as 98 people were shot and the city saw 28 homicides. So far this year, 106 people have been shot, 23 of them fatally.

One of those killed was 10-year-old Persayus Davis-May, who lost her life about 2:25 a.m. Aug. 18 at a home in the 600 block of Samuel Avenue in a shooting that wounded three other people.

About five minutes prior to that, Michael Callahan, 40, was shot to death in a pickup truck he was driving that crashed into a utility pole at South and Palmer avenues. A passenger with him was shot in the leg.

Hours after Davis-May’s death, the city announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible. Brown Wednesday said a business owner in the city wanted to help out and see justice done, so the business owner donated $5,000 to increase the reward to $15,000.

Anyone with information can call CrimeStoppers Youngstown at 330-746-CLUE or the police department tip line at 330-742-8YPD.

Brown, who was crying at a press conference the day the child was killed, choked up at the microphone and could not say that the girl had died. He only said she “was a victim of gun violence.”

Police Chief Carl Davis said the investigation is at a standstill because investigators are not having much luck having witnesses come forward. He said he thinks someone knows what happened but will not talk.

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