In an effort to boost New York State’s anti-gang initiatives and streamline the work currently being done by various state and federal agencies, Assemblyman Phil Ramos (D-Brentwood) announced the passing of legislation he authored to create a gang assessment, intervention, prevention and suppression program (A.3834-A).
“This bill has the power to revolutionize the way our state prosecutes street gangs,” Assemblyman Ramos said. “As a former narcotics officer, I know how difficult it can be to go after gang members. Establishing a centralized database for all information and intelligence related to street gangs will give law enforcement officials the tools they need to crack down on gangs and gang activities.”
The gang assessment, intervention, prevention and suppression program would:
- require the New York State Police Superintendent to work with local and federal law enforcement and district attorneys throughout the state to develop an integrated plan to suppress gang activity;
- create a centralized clearinghouse for all information relating to gangs operating in the state that will serve as a repository for any information obtained by local or state law enforcement entities; and
- authorize the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) commissioner to award district attorneys with grants for programs designed to stop gang activity.
Assemblyman Ramos noted that the legislation has become even more pressing after a recent spike of gang violence in Suffolk County. Numerous members of the MS-13 street gang have been arrested on federal charges this year, including indictments for the murder of a 15-year old Brentwood student. Members of the gang were also indicted in three other murder cases and a number of armed robberies this May.
Assemblyman Ramos has a strong history of combating gang violence dating back to his time as a Suffolk County Police Detective. He previously worked with the FBI to take an active role in fighting gang violence in Brentwood, attended community forums to hear from residents and organized a citizens’ advisory board to make recommendations about what could be done to address gang violence. Assemblyman Ramos has also authored a second bill to create a special “gang court” for prosecuting gang members (A.9512).
“I am committed to making our community a safer place to raise a family,” Assemblyman Ramos said. “Whether it is the distribution and sale of controlled substances or gun violence, street gangs are poisoning valued neighborhoods like Brentwood and Central Islip. This legislation will give law enforcement the tools they need to prosecute these dangerous criminals and will be the next big step in cracking down on crime.”