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EASTSIDE : Frias Hired to Create City Gang Program

October 11, 1992|MARY ANNE PEREZ

Gang expert Gus Frias has been hired to create a program to deal with the gang problem in the city and join Councilman Mike Hernandez's staff on the issue.

The City Council approved a $25,000, six-month contract with Frias, who is with the Los Angeles County Office of Education gang-intervention program. Hernandez said he hopes Frias' efforts will lead to a better understanding of the problem to help schools, businesses and families unite to eliminate it.

"This is his issue," Hernandez said. "Everything in his life is about how our kids are being wasted by gangs. He's shown a strong commitment toward the issue."

Frias said he hopes to bring together the various efforts that exist in gang prevention, intervention and suppression and create an interagency team within the next three months.

"It's not a reinvention of the wheel, but a readaptation of existing resources," Frias said.

One of the challenges will be understanding the diversity of the gangs within Hernandez's 1st District, which includes Central American gangs in the Pico-Union area, Asian gangs in Chinatown and long-established gangs in Lincoln Heights, and to understand the problem beyond those borders, Hernandez said.

"It's important that we have a clear understanding of what we have," he said. "I didn't want a short-term Band-Aid. I want a comprehensive program with an understanding of what's really going on."

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