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County Council OKs More Funding to Combat Gang Activity

The Montgomery County Council approved a supplemental appropriation to the County Government’s fiscal year 2018 operating budget for the Department of Police and the State’s Attorney’s Office to enhance gang activity suppression efforts.

At Tuesday’s County Council meeting the Council heard public testimony and voted unanimously to support the County Executive’s supplemental appropriation to the Montgomery County Police Department in the amount of $596,920, and the State's Attorney's Office in the amount of $246,773.

With the additional funds MCPD plans restructure and expand its current Central Street Gang Unit to allow two sections to work together on complementary strategies.

One section will be centralized and continue to focus on long-term, complex investigations that focus on gangs as organizations. This unit will coordinate with federal law enforcement and regional partners.

The second section will be more decentralized and will work with units within each police district. The focus on this section will be on field operations, including on-scene arrests, field interviews, and responding to potential gang-related incidents.

The supplemental appropriation will fund six new positions, including one sergeant, three detectives, and two civilian gang analysts. Operating expenses include funding for three new positions including equipment and vehicles for new officers, as well as workstations and other equipment and supplies for the two civilian positions. In addition, operating expenses include translation and transcription services for digital evidence that has been recovered during gang investigations.

In his memo to the County Council requesting permission for the additional funds, County Executive Ike Leggett wrote, “Both the Police Chief and State's Attorney have noted an increase in dangerous, and sometimes deadly, gang activity that must be address through both enhanced short-term and long-term strategies. It has become clear that additional resources are necessary to tackle this issue. The funding requested in this supplemental appropriation will allow the Department of Police and the State's Attorney's Office to immediately ramp up suppression efforts for gang activity in the County.”

Leggett also pointed out that the County’s annual budget already includes monies to help reduce the influence that gangs can have on youth in the County. “County departments work diligently to coordinate the delivery of services to at-risk youth,” wrote Leggett. “As part of this effort, the FY18 budget for the County includes over $25 million in funding dedicated to Positive Youth Development.”