Dept of Justice's COPS Office Awards Sac County Largest Grant in Nation for Gang Violence

Sacramento County is turning up the heat on gang violence thanks to $11 million in federal funds, which will go toward a 31-member "Impact Division" that will focus on a three-pronged strategy of enforcement, prevention and intelligence to tackle the 300 gangs in the county (and 10,000 members). The size and scope of the division has been deemed rare and officials hope that violent crime will be reduced thanks to its efforts. The director of the U.S. Department of Justice's COPS Office awarded the grant and said the county is one of a few that is actually putting its words and promises into action.

Sacramento County received the largest grant in the country and a wide coalition of forces has joined together, such as sheriff's deputies, officers from eight local and federal agencies, and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The Bee reports on the impact of the grant: “The tactics employed by the Impact Division are not new, nor unique to the Sheriff's Department. But officials say the manpower the grant has enabled is critical: The division has the capacity to handle labor-intensive investigations. Its officers can be proactive as well as reactive. No one can remember a time in the Sheriff's Department that the gang unit was larger than eight people. Now there are 18 in gang suppression alone, with 13 more supporting their mission.”

Particular attention has been paid to kids, as youth services officers have been visiting schools, putting together after-school clubs and sports teams, and rewarding good behavior. See more here.

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