WARREN - Many people at the Trumbull County Crime and Drug Strategy Planning Retreat on Wednesday agreed that identifying a problem is one thing.
"But doing something about it is another," said John Talkington, pastor at Fowler Community Church.
Talkington was among close to 100 people who gathered at the Sunrise Inn on East Market Street for the four-hour session. The group, made up of representatives from area organizations, law enforcement and individuals, explored ways to better fight the local war on drugs.
"Basically we are looking at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, what we call a 'SWOT' analysis, to reduce crime and drug addition and abuse in our city and to increase employment opportunities," April Caraway, director of the Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board, said.
Participants were asked to list three initiatives and to prioritize what they considered to be the most important. Tim Schaffner, executive director of Trumbull County Children Services, said action teams will look at those target areas and work to come up with strategies to address them.
"We know we have a problem in our community,'' he said. "We're looking at murders linked to drug and other crimes. Now we need to look at ways we as a community can address those problems."
Lauren Thorp, the project director with the Alliance for Substance Abuse Opiate Task Force, said Wednesday's session was an initial step in the process.
"We have a very diverse group, educators, neighborhood groups, and we're looking at ways we can address these problems in our community, come up with strategies to address them."
Thorp is a program coordinator for the Mental Health Recovery Board. The board has been working with 52 other agencies, groups and faith-based organizations for about a year to prepare for the launch of the strategy.
"I think this is great to have so many people from diverse areas who are working together," said Ron Shadd of Youngstown, who works for NEO Healthforce. "It's a good starting point but now it all depends on where we go from here.
''How successful we are, what we're able to accomplish - it all depends on what we do next."