Lake County State’s Attorney Announces Gun Violence Prevention Initiative Team and Request for Proposal (RFP) Process

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Lake County State's Attorneys Office


June 3, 2022


For Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Spagnolo
(224) 374-2376



Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart

Lake County State’s Attorney Announces Gun Violence Prevention Initiative Team and Request for Proposal (RFP) Process   

(Lake County, IL) - On Friday, June 3, 2022, the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office, along with other state and local officials, announced the leadership team of the Gun Violence Prevention Initiative (GVPI). 

The Lake County Gun Violence Prevention Initiative will partner with community and law enforcement to address the root causes of gun violence, and implement proven short-term and long-term strategies, to immediately interrupt cycles of gun violence.  

To help introduce the new initiative at a press conference, State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart was joined by Congressman Brad Schneider, State Representative Rita Mayfield, State Senator Adriane Johnson, IDHS Assistant Secretary and Office of Firearm Violence Prevention Chris Patterson, Sara Knizhnik, Chair of GVPI Implementation, Marcus McAllister, MC&T LLC, Dr. Vernice Wright, and other community leaders. 

Gun violence is not only ripping at our nation in schools, movie theaters, and grocery stores due to near unfettered access to legal weapons. It is also, on a daily basis, becoming a tool to settle social media disputes or to retaliate for past shootings,” said State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart. 

This initiative was possible with the substantial investment by the Lake County Board through ARPA funds and the State of Illinois through budget allocation. The $1.06 million will give the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office the ability to help a community-based organization hire and manage a team of at least 10 violence interrupters in Lake County to help curb the rising street violence in Waukegan, North Chicago, and Zion. 

The Initiative will be aided by Marcus McAllister, a nationally renowned trainer, technical assistance provider, and Lake County resident. McAllister has been involved with many violence interrupter programs for nearly 20 years. He has trained interrupters throughout the country and the world.  

 “This job, when I became a violence interrupter, it changed me. It was something bigger than me to give back,” said Mr. McAllister. He added, “Mediating conflict in North Chicago, mediating conflict in Waukegan, they gave me a chance and I wasn’t going to let them down.” 

Violence Interrupters (VIs) are street-level staff who will work with high-risk individuals to help prevent gun violence before it happens. They will be hired for their credibility, relationships, and influence within the targeted communities and trained to resolve conflict. They will meet the high-risk individuals where they are and implement unique risk reduction plans that will help put them on the right path, away from gun violence.  

Murders and shootings have been on the rise in Lake County. In 2021, we saw 21-gun violence related homicides and 28 suicides by firearm. This is the highest ever recorded in both categories for our County. 

Dr. Vernice Wright, a licensed clinical professional in mental health who has been serving the community of Lake County and lost her son to gun violence in 2021, stated how proud she was that Lake County was doing something to prevent the violence.  

“July 13, 2021, my son, didn’t survive. He was shot by gun violence, and it was the State’s Attorney’s Office that said, ‘we can help you too. You know, you’re a victim.’” said Dr. Wright.  

Community-based organizations will be able to submit applications to receive funding starting early next week. During the first two years in which the initiative will be staffed, additional funding will be sought through state, federal, and private grants in order to sustain the program and reduce gun violence in the long run.  

Lake County State's Attorney's Office
18 N. County Street
Waukegan, IL 60085  
Phone: (847) 377-3000