GPD establishing specialized gang unit

STAFF REPORT :::

The Griffin Police Department will soon deploy a new initiative to deal with the city’s emerging street gang activity.

The Criminal Apprehension and Gang Enforcement (C.A.G.E.) unit is currently in development and will serve to focus all available resources on this crime problem with a single mission of eliminating this activity from our community.

While the department has previously approached the gang problem with available resources, it has not had adequate manpower and the specialized training needed to address this embedded multi-generational street gang problem. We are now dedicating everything we can to this issue and are working diligently to enhance the skills necessary to address the core of nearly all our violent crimes – the street gangs, gang culture and gang-related behaviors.

While it is unsettling to admit that this element exists in our community, we must face the reality that it does. The first step in making a change is to call things by their proper name and in our case, we must identify the core of most of our violent crime (and a large contributor to all other crime), and that foe is the criminal street gang – formal and structured, hybridized and unstructured and everything in between.

After reviewing violent crime (homicide, aggravated assault, robbery and rape) in the city of Griffin in 2015, it was not surprising to find that many of our violent crimes had a high correlation to gang-related activities and behaviors on the part of the offender (when the identity of the offender was known), on the part of many of the victims and in many cases, both.

Given this reality, if the department is to be successful in reducing crime, we must direct our efforts at the core causal factors that give rise to our crime problem.

Departmental personnel and K-9 teams are in the process of receiving specialized training and equipment, and a computerized, web-based gang tracking intelligence database is being developed.

GPD officials say they anticipate some degree of CAGE Unit functionality within the next month, and say that as it develops, the department will be reaching out to other agencies in the area to help develop a coordinated, regional approach to this regional problem.

The GPD CAGE Unit will be the “tip of the spear” to help deter, reduce and discourage gang-related activities and crime in the city. Officials say there is much work to be done, but that the department will allocate resources and manpower to work to resolve these problems.

“It will take time and our efforts will not produce desired results overnight, but with determination and effort, we will reduce the fear of our good citizens who are exposed to this problem, and we will arrest and prosecute those responsible while our deterrence efforts displace these criminal enterprises,” said GPD Chief Mike Yates. “We will actively and aggressively pursue our offenders while conducting our operations professionally and fairly with respect for all individuals. The Griffin Police Department is determined to effectively address this issue.”

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