The chief of East Palo Alto police said today that police and prosecutors at every level of government are teaming up to target gangs and prosecute gang members in the community. Chief Ron Davis made his comments after hosting a closed door roundtable discussion with representatives from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies on combating the Norteno and Sureno gangs active in East Palo Alto and throughout San Mateo County. Police investigators believe that it was a longstanding feud between the two gangs that led to a June 5 shooting outside a baby shower in East Palo Alto, in which a 3-month-old baby was fatally shot in the head and both his parents were wounded, Davis said. “No level of violence is acceptable,” Davis said, “But the killing of a 3-month-old baby is completely beyond humanity.”
More than 70 law enforcement officials attended the roundtable to share intelligence and develop a coordinated strategy to target, arrest and prosecute active Norteno and Sureno gang members who have concentrated their activities on the Peninsula. Chief Davis said that representatives from the FBI, the state Department of Justice, the San Mateo County district attorney’s office and local police departments wanted to send a “clear and unified message” that Norteno and Sureno gang members can expect increased and sustained pressure to cease gang involvement or face targeted, probations sweeps, arrests and prosecution.
San Mateo County Sheriff Greg Munks said that the anti-gang endeavor was very important, even in the face of budget cuts and service reductions at every level of law enforcement. “My jail is currently overcrowded, but we will always make room for these criminals,” Munks said. The sheriff said that about 20 percent of those currently incarcerated in San Mateo County jails are validated gang members. Davis said the surge in efforts to combat gangs will take law enforcement from the border with Mexico into state prisons where gang leaders are known to be incarcerated. “They can expect continued pressure, even from inside prison,” Davis said.
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