Grand Jury Suggests Police Consortium to Address Juveniles in Gangs
Source: Santa Barbara County Grand Jury
As a result of recent gang-related violence in Santa Barbara County, the 2019-20 Santa Barbara County Grand Jury initiated a study of gang incidents and how various agencies are addressing them. Law enforcement agencies county-wide have had to adapt to a changing legal landscape that allows more leniency in dealing with crime, and in particular juvenile crime. As a result, juveniles are joining gangs at a younger age, without the fear of legal consequences. The Probation Department, the Sheriff’s Department, and the police departments need to understand and help each other now more than ever to reconcile what is happening in street gangs with changes in the laws.
The Jury recommends that the Santa Barbara County District Attorney, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, the Santa Barbara County Probation Department, the Santa Barbara County Public Defender and the Police Departments of Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, Lompoc and Guadalupe form a consortium and meet on an ongoing basis to fight gang crime in Santa Barbara County. The Sheriff’s Department in particular needs to be an integral part of the consortium. Gang units need to be at full strength and there needs to be stronger coordination among all police officers and Sheriff’s Deputies to share intelligence and information to prevent gang activities.
The complete report with agency responses are posted on the Grand Jury’s website: www.sbcgj.org [and attached below].