City to fight gangs with task force - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

City to fight gangs with task force

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Albany Police Chief James Younger Albany Police Chief James Younger

By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

July 10, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Gangs are such a problem that Albany's Police Chief is proposing the creation of a gang task force. It'll cost taxpayers, but gang experts say it's the only way to eradicate the problem.

"Right off the bat, when we pulled in, we saw gang signs with the graffiti, a lot of people wearing gang colors, you can pick them out of the crowds," says Robert Summe of the DeKalb County Gang Task Force.

Crowds that are clogging our community. "Gangs operate in three locations: Jails, prisons, schools, and our public streets, and if you've got an agency, it doesn't matter how big or small that's got one of those things inside of it, then you've got gangs and if you've got all three, you've definitely got a gang problem."

Albany Police Chief James Younger says the information isn't new, but he does have a new way of fighting gangs. He wants to establish a 12-member unit that will be solely dedicated to fight gang activity. It could cost close to a million dollars.

"It's certainly worth it to the taxpayers because when the community has the perception of being safe, that draws more people to the community, more businesses to the community and really enhances the quality of life and also enhances the community for people who are already here," said the chief.

One of the most critical tools the gang force will use is a database already under development by the District Attorney's Office.

"We've generated over 700 gang member names that we are inputting into the database and we're going to continue to add to that when necessary," said District Attorney Ken Hodges. "We're going to have each agency here in Dougherty County will have access to that, both to input and to get data out."

To get gangs out of Albany.  City Manager Alfred Lott will make a recommendation to the city commission by September about how to pay for such a task force.

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