Law enforcement agencies to combat gang violence


With the collaboration, East Palo Alto is sending a strong message to the Nortenos and Surenos that they crossed a line with the death of Baby Izack last month.

"No level of violence is acceptable," said East Palo Alto Police Chief Ron Davis, "but clearly the murder of a three-month-old baby is completely beyond humanity."

Davis called together law enforcement agencies from local, state and even the federal level to put the pressure on known gang members. The FBI is another agency involved in the effort.

"We try to bring together all of those pieces together to find where the soft spots are, where we are going to cut off the flow of guns, people into the area, and the result is stopping the violence at the street level," said Michael Gavin with the FBI.

As East Palo Alto launches a number of initiatives, like the probation and parole sweep last week, there is concern. Funding in the amount of $35 million in 2011 to the Department of Justice will make it harder to fight the gang problem.

"They're completely in-tune with what's going on with law enforcement, and their basic response to that, I think, is going to embolden their operations," said Acting Chief Kent Shaw with the California Department of Justice.

the agencies gathered on Wednesday vowed to overcome budget challenges through collaboration, and unlike in the past, police are building a strong partnership with the community.

"You're actually coming alongside a lot of people of color, and it's making a big difference within the community," said Pastor Paul Rains. "The walls are starting to come down."

The police chief announced one specific effort that will take place this summer, dubbed "A Call-In to Nortenos and Surenos."

"They will be offered services, opportunities, to get out of gangs, and community assistance if they so choose," Davis said.

On Saturday, community leaders and law enforcement will try to get some of the guns off the streets by holding a gun buy-back, offering $100 for the first 75 firearms that are turned in to police.

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