Former gang members fanned out after a recent slaying in Denver to counsel troubled youths itching for retaliation, the Denver Post reports. The mentors also were on hand at a hotly contested high school basketball game to keep the Bloods and Crips in check. Several groups in the gang intervention and prevention business have banded together to give new energy to an old coalition that had gone defunct. They revitalized the Metro Denver Gang Coalition, which disbanded in 2001 after it lost key funding in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The killing Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams in a drive-by shooting gave the coalition a new sense of urgency.
“They are working in unprecedented ways,” said Jeremy Bronson, Mayor John Hickenlooper’s assistant for public safety. “Police, schools, service providers and the faith-based community: Everyone is at the table to say, ‘I’m prepared to do what I can.”‘ The coalition is pushing to get new funding to revive a gang tattoo-removal program that went defunct last year because nobody had the $10,000 necessary to purchase insurance. Hundreds of youths went through the program each year until the money dried up. In exchange for community service, the former gang members had their tattoos removed, a process that requires numerous laser treatments and normally costs as much as $3,000.