Dougherty School Police gather info on gang crime - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Dougherty School Police gather info on gang crime

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -Dougherty County School Police are working on the front lines to battle Albany gangs.

They're trying to keep gang activity out of the schools, and they're also gathering information about gang crimes throughout the community.

Students often know what is going on in their neighborhoods,  and share that knowledge with their friends and classmates. School Police Officers are gathering that information everyday, and sharing it with law enforcement, to fight gang activity and crime throughout the community.

Dougherty County School Police Major Sheldon Johnson walks the halls at Monroe High School, carefully watching for any signs of gang activity.

Johnson said "Some of the gang paraphernalia I've collected. We have some of the rags, bandanas, towels. Right here you have it blatantly written out, some of the gang writing they have been doing."

School Police know Monroe has students claiming to be members of the Southside Bloods and the West Side Rattlers, boldly writing on the bathroom walls.

 Johnson said "West Side right here. Again West Side here. The seven popping right here."

A gang problem that School Police say so far this year is under control. Dougherty County School Police Chief Troy Conley said "We haven't totally eradicated it, as of yet. But we're making progress in this constant battle."

The school police are all members of the gang task unit, and all the scuttlebutt they learn from the students goes into the data base for all law enforcement intelligence.

Conley said "Just recently we've had the opportunity to share information that helped the other agencies solve a number of their crimes that happened in their jurisdiction."

And the police officers inside the schools say most students are eager to share that information with a cop they see everyday and trust.

Johnson said "they don't want gangs either. I think they are getting tired of hearing about some of the gangs on the campus and in the community too. So they want to tell you."

The School Police say so far this year they have seen very little gang activity inside the schools, where they have a zero tolerance for any activities or paraphernalia. They say most of the gang activity happens in the blocks around the schools when the students are headed home, and that is where and when Police patrol heavily.

Each Dougherty County High School has two Police Officers working inside everyday. There's one officer at each middle school.

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