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Zapata memorial coincides with introduction of new anti-violence initiative


LAKE ODESSA   (WKZO)  --   A delegation from the City of Kalamazoo will travel to Lake Odessa, where Officer Eric Zapata is buried for a visit to his grave site today and to have lunch with the family.   Wednesday marks the one-year anniversary of Zapata's death.  Assistant Chief Brian Uridge says the impact is still being felt.  Donations are being collected to put up a memorial on the Kalamazoo Mall.

As we were first to report yesterday, Public Safety will be creating a new division to tackle the problem of gun and drug related violence.

Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley says instead of arresting young drug dealers, they plan to sit them down with their neighbors or their mothers and reason with them, pointing out that their chances of surviving their youth are greatly diminished as long as they remain in the drug culture.  He says it’s worked amazingly well in other communities and he says they need help from this community to make it happen.

Roughly twenty Public Safety Officers will be part of the new division.

They plan to call the operation "The Community Outreach and Problem Solving" division or “COPS” for short.