Warner directed the state police to assemble a strike force of at least a dozen special agents and troopers to focus on gang activity. State police, local law enforcement and community leaders will assess hot spots of gang activity, and the strike force will be deployed to those areas. The strike force will use tactical plans to disrupt and eliminate gang activity.

State police also will work with the state Department of Corrections to gather intelligence and track gang activity. Corrections officials have set up a security threat group management program to monitor and collect investigative information on criminal groups within state prisons.

The governor said he would propose a budget amendment to provide $300,000 for the strike force.


Warner said he supports creating three new assistant commonwealth's attorney positions dedicated to gang investigations and prosecutions. He said the new positions should be able to work across jurisdictional lines, as do multi-jurisdictional task forces and grand juries already in existence.

The governor said he would propose an additional $400,000 in funding to create these new positions.


Warner said he has directed school resource officers and probation officers to receive additional training about a federal program that uses law enforcement and probation personnel to conduct educational workshops for youth on avoiding gangs.


Warner said he has directed more than $1 million for model youth programs across the state, including eight mentoring initiatives. He said he also has directed the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice, which oversees juvenile detention and prevention programs, to implement policies for intervention and identification of gang members within its facilities. The department also will develop and carry out a plan to counter gang activity among youth offenders.

SOURCE: Office of Gov. Mark R. Warner

Gov. Mark R. Warner speaks with Juan Pacheco, a former gang member who is community outreach coordinator for the social service organization Barrios Unidos, after a news conference last month outlining plans to curb gang violence and criminal activity.