Seminar teaches college students gang warning signs - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Seminar teaches college students gang warning signs

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September 27, 2007

 Albany --Officers put on a seminar at Darton College to show people how to spot gang members and activity. A man who says he is a gang member spoke to the group.

 Examples of gang symbols, and the weapons that street gangs use committing crimes were on display, as members of the Dougherty County Sheriff's office, D.A.'s office, and School Police taught dozens of Darton College students about the gang danger in Albany.

 Also speaking to the crowd was Shorty. He did not want us to show his face, because he has been in an Albany gang for more than a decade, and says he would be killed if identified. Shorty said "once you are in, you are in for life."

Shorty said he was recruited into the gang as a 14 year old. Shorty said "I needed a role model. I didn't have no one to walk me to school. I became colored."

About a dozen gangs or sub sects of gangs have been identified in Albany, and lawmen have a data base with the names of more than two hundred people they believe are involved in gang crime.  And these Darton students could know some. Captain Kevin Sproul said "when to see the signs they are hanging out with gang members, or know gang members."

For 14 years Captain Kevin Sproul has fought gangs through school programs trying to keep kids from joining. He says now there are third generation family members being born and raised in gang families in Albany. Sproul taught today's students ways to protect themselves, like keeping a 20 dollar bill in your pants pocket in case you are stuck up, to quickly give the robber what he wants. Student Willie Tatum said " Keep that on you, give it to them, or they might shoot you. That's good to know. "

Shorty,  why are you willing to talk about gangs to the students? Shorty said "because I had bad parents, I'm trying to help kids out."

Warning students and teachers about the dangers of gang violence in this community. Captain Sproul warned the students and teachers never to try to challenge a gang member but instead get information about them to help law enforcement.

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