THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - State and local law enforcement agents in Thomas County are tackling the issues of gun violence in the community.
Their message: “Think Before You React.”
At a public forum, officers advised the community on how they can help end the problem of gun violence.
One officer said if you keep your gun in your car, make sure it’s locked so your gun doesn’t get stolen.
Lt. Tim Watkins, Thomas County Sheriff’s Office chief investigator, said gun violence will decrease if teens have a good role model to help keep them out of trouble.
“Ask your kids what they want to be," Watkins said. “You should help them plan for what they want to be, and tell them how to get there, and things they need to do, like finish school.”
Watkins said a majority of the inmates at the Thomas County Jail never finished high school.
Having goals and plans, Watkins pointed out, will help keep kids focused.
Something Curby Monroe siad he didn’t have when he committed an armed robbery.
When he was young, Monroe’s mom and sister died in a car accident.
As he reflected on the past, Monroe told WALB that’s when his life went south.
“I just didn’t want to talk, because the only person I had, that I depended on was my mom," Curby said.
With her not there, Curby lost his way.
“If I would’ve think before I reacted, I wouldn’t be where I was at," Curby said.
Now in prison for committing an armed robbery, Curby said he knew this isn’t what he wanted for his life.
“I knew I had to be dedicated to change," he added. “I knew I was going to have to work hard, 10 times hard.”
Curby promised himself that when he was released from prison, he wouldn’t go back to his old ways.
“Why would I want to look behind my shoulder everyday knowing the police are behind me, when I know I am doing wrong, when I could work and know I don’t have to do any of that,” he added.
His life, now a 180 of what it used to be.
A full-time employee and happily married to Rickquita Monroe, who is still so proud of him.
“If it were me, I would’ve gave up already," she said.
Rickquita, who also lost her mom at a young age, knows everyone needs a positive role model. Without one, she said, kids will do what’s easy.
“They get the wrong type of attention that leads them to do bad things," Rickquita said.
They believe more communities need programs to help at-risk kids — something, Curby voices at community meetings.
“If you can reach a child, teach a child, show them the right way, show them the right path to go on," Curby said.
Until that happens, Curby pointed out, change is required when you’re trying to better yourself.
“Sometimes you’ll have to change who you hang out with, sometimes you have to change your environment," he added.
Thomasville city leaders told WALB they’re planning more community events to try and end gun violence within the city.