Viewpoint: Gang Unit kudos

Albany's growing gang problem got so widespread and so dangerous, city leaders decided to spend a million dollars to start a new police gang. That's a lot of money, but so far, it's money well-spent.

The Albany Police Gang Unit has been involved in more than 260 arrests for everything from breaking into cars to murder. Gang officers work closely with all the other law enforcement agencies in the county from school police to the District Attorney's office.

The gang unit has held more than 75 workshops at schools and churches and neighborhood watch meetings to build gang awareness, to encourage kids to stay out of gangs, and to convince us to watch out for and report gang activity.

They aggressively patrol areas where gangs operate, and they hit the streets building trust with people in neighborhoods throughout the city. Those relationships have even led to arrests that have nothing to do with gangs.

In short, the Gang Unit is doing what it was set up to do . . . put gangsters and other criminals behind bars and make Albany a safer place to live and work. Gangs won't be eliminated for a long time to come, if ever, but the Albany Police Department is on the right track and deserves our support and our thanks.