Coffee Co. law enforcement, leaders join forces to tackle gang issues

Video from WALB
Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 7:48 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

DOUGLAS, Ga. (WALB) - The gang and crime activity in Douglas has brought the attention of several of law enforcement agencies.

Law enforcement officials said gangs have now become more organized and more aggressive.

Several law enforcement agencies and Coffee County leaders met Thursday to bring not just awareness to the gang-related issues in the community but to discuss a plan of action.

Douglas Mayor Tony Paulk said he’s concerned about the safety of the children in Douglas. Paulk said from recent training and investigations, gangs are recruiting children as young as the fifth grade.

“We need to make sure that we have leadership in place, the policies, the rules and regulations and we don’t get into a turf or jurisdictional situation that, ‘Hey whoever’s there, we’re going to respond to this regardless of what the criminal activity is,’” Paulk said.

More than 5,000 students start school Monday in Douglas. Community leaders said they’re aware of the high crime and drug issues.

Douglas Police Chief Shane Edminsten said drug trafficking and white collar crimes like embezzlement, and forgery, have been very common in their gang-related investigations. The police chief said they are able to catch some of the criminal activity on social media.

“We do monitor social media websites. We actually had an incident last week where our officers were monitoring a social media website and discovered a crime, and we actually made an arrest in that crime for aggravated assault,” Edminsten said.

Paulk said law enforcement agencies are formally joining forces in monthly meetings aimed at fighting gang crime. They believe communication amongst each of the agencies that attended will be the key to a safer community and school year.

Copyright 2022 WALB. All rights reserved.