In June, Cyrise Dixon was named Community Violence Intervention Coordinator of the newly formed Safer Schools Stronger Neighborhoods collaborative. The coalition, led by CASA Youth Advocates, brings together several Delaware County nonprofits with the common goal of reducing gun violence in the city of Chester. Along with CASA, the members of Safer Schools Stronger Neighborhoods include Chester Education Foundation, Chester Community Coalition, Making a Change Group, Boys and Girls Club of Chester, Crozer Health Trauma Program, and Widener University.
“CASA does such amazing work advocating for young people,” said Dixon. “They stepped up to be the lead organization because there is a vision there. Together, we can all make a difference. We all benefit when we reduce the violence. We make life better for everyone.”
Cyrise comes to Safer Schools Stronger Neighborhoods after a 42-year career in law enforcement. She began her career as a patrol officer for the Chester Police Department in 1978, where she worked alongside her father (to date they are the only father-daughter pair to ever serve the Chester Police Department). She went on to hold various positions including a detective for the Delco Criminal Investigation Unit, special agent for the PA Office of the Attorney General, and Chief of Staff for the Chester Police Department. In November 2020, Cyrise was named Interim Chief Operating Officer for the city of Chester. She held that title until November 2022, when she retired.
According to Cyrise, Safer Schools Stronger Neighborhoods is about more than stopping gun violence. The program will help young people get on a better path by connecting them with services and people who want to help and empower them.
“I have a lot of concern for the youth and the things they go through,” said Dixon. “It is a completely different world today than when I was growing up.” My personal goal is to inform people so they know about the opportunities the program will put in front of them,” said Dixon. “A lot of times people can’t get connected to the resources they need. My hope is that this program becomes a model for how a lot of things are done.”