Interview with a member of the Allegheny County Child Death Review Team
Allegheny, Prevention, Protection, Review
The Child Death Review Team reviews the death of every resident of Allegheny County from the ages of 0-21. This team is made of a diverse group of people, including medical examiners and law enforcement members. They look over medical examiner and police reports as well as the background, childhood, and family dynamics of the victims. All of this information is uploaded to a national database with the purpose of revealing possible preventative and protective measures.
Most firearm deaths in Allegheny are the result of homicides and accidents (as opposed to suicides). It is a difficult issue to address because the intention of this review team is to protect, not to infringe on the rights of any community members. The team is also not allowed to have any follow-back with the families, and must rely on family support programs and information from other sources, such as police and medical practitioners.
As a result of this work, it seems that more consistent policies could make a difference in increasing safe gun storage (i.e. same policies for storing a gun for police officers as military personnel). New programs that focus on showing the aftermath of gun violence to young adults seem to be working. It would also be valuable to focus on childhood experiences as an indicator of later experiences with gun violence.