Antigang Task Forces In Va. Yield No New Officers

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An infusion of money and task forces to combat a growing gang problem in Northern Virginia has resulted in redundant prevention efforts, turf battles, and no new officers on the street, says the Washington Post. A review of the four major task forces serving the region showed that even as the number of gang-related incidents has risen, new initiatives have added no frontline detectives, considered a linchpin of intelligence-gathering and suppression. Advocates of the task forces say it was not their mission to add manpower, but that is what gang detectives say they need the most from their elected leaders.

In Fairfax County, the number of gang cases jumped over two years from 45 incidents a month to 125. During that time, the division lost a member because he was loaned to a forming task force. “You talk about all these councils and task forces. In my opinion, it’s just a bunch of lip service,” said Lt. Chip Hudson, a supervisor of the Fairfax police gang unit. “We haven’t seen anything–no manpower, no equipment, nothing.” The four task forces, whose budgets total $3.5 million, have allocated much of their funds to establish programs that are similar for the same jurisdictions. “Looking at it from the outside, I know it can look like there’s overlap,” said Attorney General Jerry Kilgore. “But it’s important that we all work together so that we are spending these tax dollars in the most efficient way.”

Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A32952-2004Aug1.html

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