Sheriff Mark Hunter On Gangs 101: It's about community involvement
Posted March 16, 2012 08:53 pm | Part II | Part I Gangs 101
COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Sheriff Mark Hunter, Columbia County's top law enforcement official told the Observer. "Right now gangs are not a rampant problem in the community. We have a few kids that are playing the part and copying stuff from TV... and there is also recruiting going on."
Sheriff Hunter praised the work of the LCPD's Paul Cash but said, "We need to get some hard data."
Sheriff Hunter said that if the residents don't want this in their community, they are going to have to step forward.
He explained that there are several existing methods to communicate with the Sheriff's Office.
Anyone can dial Crime Stoppers at 386-754-7099 and speak to a real person. They can remain anonymous and leave as much information as they wish.
The School Resource Officers are another source of help and are available during all school hours. All one has to do is go to one of the schools and ask to see one of the Resource Officers, who are all Sheriff's Deputies.
The Sheriff explained that there is also a victim advocate within the Sheriff's Office for any parent to speak with "who has been victimized by their child."
If you feel like your child is involved in a gang, Sheriff Hunter said to dial this number at Columbia County Dispatch: 719-2500.
Sheriff Hunter concluded by telling the Observer that organized gang activity is not presently the issue in Columbia County. He said, "I don't have any data at this time to support that."
He continued, "There are definitely children acting out and emulating gang activity. If a parent, family member or anyone needs help with gang related issues the Sheriff's Office has mechanisms in place to help them."
"The best way to defeat the gangs is through community involvement," he said.