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Probation Dept. Anti-Gang Work

April 03, 1988

It seems that each day as I read your newspaper, I find a report of street gang violence, of street gangs and narcotics or of street gangs threatening law enforcement officers. I am writing now so that your readers will know that we at the Orange County Probation Department are doing our part to help control gang violence.

For the last 10 months, three deputy probation officers and their supervisor have closely monitored a total of 195 gang members who are on probation. That monitoring includes continuous surveillance of their gang hangouts and neighborhoods, strict enforcement of special conditions of probation and periodic searches of their property for weapons, drugs or stolen merchandise.

These officers are dedicated to protecting this community. In the course of their duties, they have made 244 arrests for offenses ranging from associating with fellow gang members (which is strictly prohibited) to possession of weapons and narcotics.

They have been instrumental in arresting these street terrorists for attempted murder and for street robbery. As a result of our reports, judges have sent 177 gang members to local institutions and 10 to the California Youth Authority or to prison, where they can no longer influence fellow gang members or threaten this county.

The Gang Violence Suppression Unit's objective is to catch gang members if they are breaking their probation and to remove them from the community.

If, on the other hand, an individual chooses to free himself from the gang, these same officers will do everything in their power to assist the young person and his family.

As of today, 15 of these probationers can now say they are former gang members as a result of these officers' commitment and the probationers' own desire to lead a law-abiding life. Fifteen is not a large number, but it is a start.

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER

Chief Probation Officer

Orange County

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