During Tuesday’s Fresno (CA) City Council meeting, council member Miguel Arias asked for the further exploration of a program to curb gang violence.

Advance Peace helps gang members abandon the gang lifestyle by paying them stipends and through other incentives.

“The way the program works is a community organization and community leaders identified these individuals, sign them up for mentorship programs for job programs, monitor them make sure they stay out of trouble,” says Miguel Arias, Fresno City Council member for District 3.

There are similar programs in Stockton, which is 100 percent private funding and in Sacramento, which is both city and private dollars, YourCentralValley reports.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer says there are 138 gang members that this program would target.

Dyer believes the program would work.”We need to do more to stop gang violence in our city, there’s no question.”

In a City Council discussion on the program Thursday, council members Luis Chavez and Nelson Esparza noted that the functions of the program have been misrepresented in the news and on the radio since the issue was thrust into the spotlight, the Fresno Bee reports. Chavez welcomed a new approach to reducing gun violence and liked the workforce development aspect of the program. “It’s not the city paying folks money to not shoot someone,” he said. “That’s not what this is.”

No decision on the funding of the program has been reached by the city council.

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