“An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.”

During last year’s WCHL 1360 [mp3] forum I suggested our community would be better served by allocating our tight police resources more to gang awareness and remediation than parading (or Segwaying) up and down Franklin St.

Sometime soon after thhe Police Department was awarded a $37,482 grant from the Governor’s Crime Commission to address gang activity. The Town matched the grant with an additional $12,494. The funds were to be used “to pay overtime costs for additional patrols in the downtown district and residential neighborhoods that have experienced gang-related activity.” Further, “officers will receive additional training in gang recognition, and will use this knowledge to deliver awareness materials to local schools and community groups.”

When I learned from one of our local law enforcement leaders that the funds didn’t cover all the attendant expenses, I asked one of our elective leaders to look into boosting the fund by $15,000. That didn’t happen but I believe additional funds are forthcoming in this year’s budget (I’ll keep an eye out as the budget develops).

As far as community education, Officer Mitch McKinney, of the CHPD, will present a gang awareness seminar this Mar. 25th.

“Forewarned is forearmed”.

The Town of Chapel Hill, Sunrise Rotary, and the Chapel Hill/Carrboro YMCA are sponsoring a gang information presentation from 1:30 to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 25, in the auditorium at East Chapel Hill High School.

This presentation will include an informative session on the status of gang activity in our community and will feature prevention strategies for parents and caregivers. The featured presenter is Officer Mitch McKinney of the Chapel Hill Police Department. Officer McKinney has attended extensive training on gang activity and is a popular presenter on the subject.

Representatives from a variety of area youth-services providers will be on hand to answer questions about their programs and to distribute information.

The Community Gang Awareness Presentation is free and everyone is welcome. Light refreshments will be offered.

You can learn more at www.chcymca.org.

For more information contact Officer McKinney at 919-968-2760 or mmckinney@townofchapelhill.org.

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