Cure the Streets Spotlight: Timothy Doyle
Cure the Streets (CTS) violence interrupters working in Ward 5 at the Eckington and Truxton site take turns being on-call each night. If a homicide or gun violence occurs overnight, the person on-call will go to the scene and gather information about what happened, who was involved, and why it escalated.
The following morning, the entire team of nine violence interrupters, outreach workers, and administrative support staff put their heads together and try to connect the dots.
Who has a connection to the incident? Who might retaliate over the individual who lost their life? How can we talk to them to prevent further violence?
The meeting doesn’t adjourn until the team has devised a path forward.
Timothy is one of those CTS violence interrupters working in Ward 5. He’s been on the team since September 2019 and knows the gravity of his work could save lives. “You put your life on the line, but if that’s what it takes to uplift the youth, so be it,” he says. “I’ve put my life on the line for stuff that was of much lesser value than that. I have no problem putting my life on the line for a worthy cause.”
Timothy has lived in the Eckington and Truxton area for more than 40 years, “minus the time I was incarcerated for 23 years.” Timothy, like many violence interrupters, has had past experiences with the justice system. “At one time, I was the problem. I was a juvenile on the street. But now, I feel as though I have a story to tell and I can give back to youth,” he says.
To help stop retaliation after a violent incident occurs, it helps to have a pre-existing relationship with the individuals involved. “When I engage with participants, I look at them like a brother. I try to tell them what I’ve been through. I try to be a brother figure,” he says. Being a role model who has walked in their shoes once before is a powerful tool to achieving that. “When I grew up, we didn’t have Cure the Streets people to turn to.”
Timothy has seen firsthand how his influence can make a difference. When asked what one of his proudest moments was, he described a scene much like the one above. There was a homicide, but this time, it was a friend who was killed. Despite how hard it was to hear that news and suffer that loss, he worked with the people who were connected to the incident to make sure there was no retaliation – and there never was.
His other proudest moment? Being presented with an employee of the month award from his Cure the Streets co-workers. “I’ve never received anything like that in my life. It showed me that they see the work I’m putting in. That really touched me.”
When speaking with Timothy, you quickly can tell the passion he uses to describe his work. “What motivates me the most is if I can touch two, three, or even just one person…then I know I did my job. I’m trying my best to make D.C. a murder free capital…to save some lives.”
And the feedback he receives from the community is just as passionate. “The community loves the work that we do,” he says. “We don’t just deal with youth, we also deal with seniors. We serve food, give them supplies, and we make sure they have what they need.” Timothy believes that a violence interrupter has to be a reliable person in the community in order to be successful. He and his team have built that reputation, “The community respects and loves the work we are putting in.”
OAG’s Cure the Streets uses a data-driven, public-health approach to treat violence as a disease that can be interrupted, treated, and stopped from spreading. CTS is working in six sites with some of the highest rates of gun violence in Wards 5, 7 and 8.