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Apopka Community Task Force listens for solutions


They say that finding problems are easy, but solutions are hard. The Apopka Community Task Force Against Violence took this problem/solution issue head on last night at the Fran Carlton Center at an event they called a “Listening Workshop.”

Around 50 people attended the event, made up of citizens, task force members and three Commissioners – Doug Bankson and Kyle Becker from Apopka and Bryan Nelson from Orange County.

This was the first of a 3-part series of listening sessions for the participants to provide their input and recommendations pertaining to issues in Apopka. This session was entitled, “Crime and Community.”


“I doubt if there is any problem in the world today - social, political or economic - that would not find a happy solution if approached in the spirit of the sermon on the mount.”

― Harry Truman


The participants broke into three groups, but before they met, Task Force co-chairman Rod Love hammered home the theme of the night.

“We don’t want you to just bring the problems, but solutions as well,” he said. “No problems will be discussed without solutions. The solutions require more thought.”

There were many thoughts from many people in the 30-minute breakout session. But certain themes did emerge.

The first thought from group one was that there is a toxic culture in the community that causes a distrust of police.

Task Force member Steve John said it begins with what children are taught.

“In my opinion you have to change the mindset,” said John. “You have to teach respect.”

Commissioner Nelson added to that theme.

“The kind of respect (Apopka High School Football) Coach (Rick) Darlington demands of his players is the level of respect we should shoot for.”

At another group’s table, Pastor Richard King spoke of building relationships with police officers.

“They (police) will have to reach out to the community,” he said. “And we will have to reach out to them.”

At the third table, Commissioner Becker pointed out a statistic from the previous meeting that resonated with him – reading levels.

“If a community has poor reading levels in third grade, government can plan on building more jails,” he said. "And if the reading level is high, they will build less. Education is a driver against violence.”

Pastor Todd Lamphere brought up the need for church outreach into elementary schools.

“Orange County Schools has a faith based initiative to adopt the schools, but churches have to get involved. They’ve been sold a bill of goods about separation of church and state. We have very few Christian believers who are engaging schools. Urge your church to go to your nearest elementary school. God is our behavior modification. If we can get a kid infused about the ways of God, he will be okay.”


“The universe is so well balanced that the mere fact that you have a problem also serves as a sign that there is a solution.”

― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free


Task Force member John Hightower added to Lamphere’s theme with a biblical reference.

“You cannot separate us from the Bible,” he said. “We cannot let someone dictate to us not to teach it. And there is no holy book that says that killing is a good thing.”

Pastor Hezekiah Bradford added another element to the discussion – community involvment.

“Our number one issue is not City Hall, not government, but community,” he said. “If you see something, say something. If you see something do something. Bottom line? Get involved.”

Apopka Community Task Force on violence


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