Gainesville, law enforcement unveil gun violence responses

GPD Chief Nelson Moya, Sheriff Emery Gainey and State Attorney Brian Kramer discuss their task force that has address gun violence since March 5.
GPD Chief Nelson Moya, Sheriff Emery Gainey and State Attorney Brian Kramer discuss their task force that has address gun violence since March 5.
Courtesy Alachua County Sheriff's Office

The city of Gainesville unveiled IMPACT GNV on Thursday, its overarching initiative that will include all the city’s gun violence prevention programs—including a new partnership with the Willie Mae Stokes Community Center.  

The Gainesville Police Department (GPD) and Alachua County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) also announced Thursday a task force that has quietly, but aggressively searched for illegal guns through multiple operations since March 5. Both agencies said they plan to continue the pressure.  

Since March 5, the agencies have seized a combined 81 firearms—including 11 confirmed stolen, three “ghost” guns with serial numbers removed, and a Glock modified to allow automatic fire.  

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GPD arrested 15 convicted felons for possession of some of those firearms, and the sheriff’s office has 29 criminal cases with 27 arrested suspects—including 13 convicted felons. 

Interim GPD Chief Nelson Moya, Sheriff Emery Gainey and State Attorney Brian Kramer released a joint video on Thursday to announce the task force and its impact. In the video, Moya said that Gainesville has already had seven homicides in 2024—half the number of homicides that occurred in all of 2023.  

“We must do whatever it takes to combat this violence and provide added safety and security for our citizens,” Moya said. 

IMPACT GNV, under the office of the city manager, will include many programs already in action to engage youth, assist justice-impacted residents and, ultimately, prevent gun violence. The programs focus on prevention and intervention. The name is an acronym that pools together key efforts for gun violence prevention as highlighted in a 10-point document by the Department of Justice.  

IMPACT GNV stands for: 

  • Improve access to mental health services, social support, and the arts 
  • Mobilize and enhance existing community-based services and groups 
  • Prioritize public health and safety efforts in areas most impacted by gun violence 
  • Analyze gun violence data 
  • Center youth 
  • Track progress 

IMPACT GNV comes just over a year after the City Commission declared gun violence a public health crisis, and the new overarching program takes a more holistic approach because of that declaration from February 2023.  

Two cornerstones of the new initiative are the B.O.L.D. program, in place since 2010, and the new partnership with the Willie Mae Stokes Community Center. Other programs through the city and community organizations include community care callouts, the One Nation One Project, Mirror Image Leadership Academy, People Against Violence Enterprises and “Class of Her Own” documentary screening. 

The new partnership with the Willie Mae Stokes Community Center will work to create a network of community violence interrupter programs coordinated through the center. The network will focus on schools, after-school programs, churches and other organizations to direct the lives of young people before they drift toward violence.  

“With more than two decades engaging young people through community outreach and mentoring programs, Bishop Stokes is uniquely qualified to work with us as we reduce violence through these targeted strategies,” City Manager Cynthia Curry said in a statement. 

Brittany Coleman, the city’s new gun violence intervention program manager, said using a community organization to coordinate the violence interrupters makes the initiatives more approachable compared with a law enforcement or city-run entity. 

The B.O.L.D program also moved out from under GPD and under general government management. It currently has 166 participants after recently expanding its parameters to include females and people younger and older than its original 18- to 25-year-old range.  

The program provides guidance and connections to resources like healthcare, housing and education. The participants have often encountered the justice system, and B.O.L.D. Manager Diamond Smith said the program has earned the trust of judges, who sometimes require participation as a pre-trail release condition. 

Santa Fe College is also a program partner, with participants enrolling to earn their GED, if needed, or other trade experience. Diamond said Santa Fe offers plumbing, carpentry and CDL training for B.O.L.D. participants, and funding from the federal government covers the cost for some of the programs.  

Mayor Harvey Ward said IMPACT GNV unifies the city’s response to gun violence. Instead of pointing to a dozen different programs that intersect or directly deal with gun violence, he said the city can showcase IMPACT GNV. 

The city of Gainesville has worked to coordinate its gun violence response for years. In 2021, then-GPD Chief Tony Jones rolled out the One Community initiative in response to a wave of juvenile gun violence, and a town hall on the topic soon followed. 

Diamond said One Community looked at a law enforcement-led approach. IMPACT GNV builds on the foundation but approaches the issues from the public health perspective.  

The City Commission directed staff to begin work on a gun violence task force and look at expanding current gun violence prevention programs when it declared the public health crisis last year. Following the direction, Gainesville hosted a Gun Violence Prevention Summit in August 2023 as staff continued working on the framework and drafting an agreement with Alachua County and Santa Fe College.  

That agreement has been finalized to create an alliance that will draw community members, law enforcement and organizations to collaborate. Deputy County Manager Carl Smart told the city on Thursday that the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners had already signed the agreement. 

Gainesville Fire Rescue Chief Joseph Dixon
Courtesy city of Gainesville Joseph Dixon

During the past year, the city has restructured its administration of gun violence response. Curry selected Gainesville Fire Chief Joe Dixon as special adviser on public health and safety, placed Brandy Stone as community health director and hired Coleman as gun violence intervention program manager.  

Curry is using around $150,000 to fund IMPACT GNV and gun violence response, to hire Coleman, and to set up the agreement with Willie Mae Stokes Community Center. The one-time funds came through the American Rescue Plan Act, but many of the programs already existed.  

Also at Thursday’s meeting, Moya reported on the department’s quarterly statistics. The numbers were from January through March 2024.  

GPD reports 246 violent crimes for the first quarter of 2024 compared with 255 for the first quarter of 2023.  

When comparing the final three months of 2023 with the first quarter of 2024, homicides increased from three to five, but the number of stolen firearms dropped from 41 to 18. The number of shots fired changed from 42 to 45.  

Violent crimes from January through March in the past three years 

  • 2024 
  • Homicide: 5 (with two more since) 
  • Rape: 29 
  • Robbery: 56 
  • Aggravated assault: 156 
  • 2023 
  • Homicide: 3 
  • Rape: 48 
  • Robbery: 43 
  • Aggravated assault: 161 
  • 2022 
  • Homicide: 0 
  • Rape: 57 
  • Robbery: 40 
  • Aggravated assault: 141 

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The police are NOT the problem. It’s the public attorneys and judges, who release repeat offenders starting in juvenile court. They get groomed into jaded, violent offenders as they get older. It’s obvious.
Police deserve 200% pay raises. Funded by cutting govt attorney pay 50%.


Unless there is information missing in this (if we can trust the media), it appears that Gainesville is not going to blame the guns for the violence. We need the prosecutors and courts to step up and get tougher on crime. Anyone that uses a firearm in a crime should face attempted murder charges. The implication (to me) is that they will kill to get what they want. Also, stiffer penalties for convicted felons found with a gun.

Jenny Dearinger

Excellent article! I’m glad to see that GNV is making head way in it’s fight against gun violence. Thank you for covering.


There should be mandatory mental health care for all violent guns. There should also be mandatory training for law enforcement and people that handle violent guns. For instance, the purple gun has not been rendered inert. The horizontal plastic tie doesn’t do anything and the vertical tie can easily be slipped off and enable the violent gun. Violent guns should be forcibly disassembled to prevent them from committing more violence. Especially the purple ones. We all know about the purple violent guns.


One of the first steps to solving a problem is to correctly identify the problem. Don’t address it with cute acronyms and with words that blame inanimate objects. Place blame on the person committing the acts and not the tools they use. Prove to the people that criminal activity will be punished as well as effort will be made to prevent it being repeated.

The current system of catch and release is more appropriate for sport fishing, not crime prevention.


You can get free training for trade programs at Santa Fe College if you are a B.O.L.D. participant. How do you become a B.O.L.D. participant?