As a former Suffolk County police officer and father, I’ve seen how
important it is to fight crime and provide youths with a safe alternative
to the streets. Unfortunately, our community has been plagued with gang
violence and crime. Many of these gang members will often flee the country
after committing a crime - making it harder to prosecute them.
I took the lead to get a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in
cooperation with the Suffolk County Police Department and the El
Salvadorian Police Department to help open up the lines of communication.
In October 2004, the Suffolk County Police Department and the Civilian
National Police of the Republic of El Salvador signed a MOU - which allows
the sharing of equipment and communications so police departments can
more easily, quickly and accurately gather information about these
criminals and ultimately reduce the number of gang related crimes -
helping to keep our families out of harm’s way.
In order to be successful, we need to approach gang violence from multiple
angles. While implementing tougher penalties and cracking down on
crime, we also need to work with the community to help these kids
find a more positive outlet. We can learn from strategies like the
ones used by the El Salvadorian police to steer our own youth away
from gang violence. The El Salvadorian police have worked with churches
to help gang members learn a trade by developing new skills. Recently,
50 former gang members received their electrician certification.
I am currently working alongside local community leaders to help combat gang
violence here in Suffolk County. And I will continue working in the Assembly
to pass laws to reduce gang-related crimes and make our community a safer