A California congresswoman has introduced federal legislation that would create national standards and accountability for gang intervention workers as part of a Los Angeles-based effort to professionalize the growing and controversial field, reports the L.A. Times. The bill, introduced by U.S. Rep. Diane Watson (D-Los Angeles), is the first such national initiative to regulate intervention workers who act as liaisons between law enforcement and communities.
Police and intervention workers have a long history of distrust, but authorities have come to rely on intervention workers for such matters as monitoring street gossip and preventing retaliatory shootings. Among other provisions, the bill spells out those services the federal government expects intervention agencies to deliver, such as street mediation and crisis response at schools. It also seeks to hold intervention agencies accountable by using “evidence-based” accounting of gang-related violence and the numbers of young people who have been routed into job development programs.