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Turlock Police to hire gang prevention coordinator

POSTED September 4, 2009 11:05 p.m.
A federal crime fighting grant of more than $50,000 will be put to use in Turlock to help turn the tide of gang activity.
The Turlock Police Department intends to use the funds from the Justice Assistance Grant to hire a Gang Prevention and Intervention Coordinator. The newly created position will be hired on a contract basis and will not be employed by the Turlock Police Department.
The decision to fund the new position was based on recommendations of the Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force, which found the segment of Turlock’s youth population that are at the greatest risk of falling under gang influence are also the most under served. The task force identified the most at risk population to be 12 to 15 year-olds.
“It’s a really under served age range that also happens to be targeted by the gangs the most and is the most easily influenced,” said Chief Gary Hampton. “Many of them are on their own from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and it’s during that block of time that we are losing them to the gangs.”
The coordinator  will also create a collaboration that combines the efforts of multiple programs and resources in Turlock that are geared toward gang prevention and intervention.
The hiring of the coordinator position is just one element of the department’s overall strategic plan to improve the quality of life in Turlock. Earlier this year, the department’s gang suppression team hit the street and “has made significant impacts on the gang trends in our community,” Hampton said. “But that is just one component. Suppression, prevention and intervention all have to work hand in hand.”
The grant comes from the Edward Byrne Memorial program and the City’s allocation is $51,626. There is no requirement of a local match for funds.
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.
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