Deputies say community effort is key for TAG’s success |

Deputies say community effort is key for TAG’s success

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” The new Threat Assessment Group formed by the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office is looking for the citizens within the communities of Garfield County to aid them in fighting gang activity.

The Sheriff’s Office asks for people to be on the lookout for suspicious activity and to do three simple things. Record the activity. Report it to them. And if it’s something like graffiti, remove it as quickly as possible.

“It’s important to remove graffiti from property because it can cause gang wars and other problems,” said Sheriff Deputy Miller.

Deputy Miller and Deputy McCune gave an educational presentation to citizens in New Castle on March 19 at Riverside Middle School. The presentation covered topic of how to identify gang activity. They didn’t want their first names used for safety reasons.

But being aware of the problem is only the first step. A crucial element of the group’s effectiveness is based on citizen’s participation.

The Sheriff’s Office says that people should look for any drastic changes in their child’s behavior including a new group of friends, a different style of language, excessive secrecy or withdrawal from family, acquisition of new possessions, or gang-related clothing. However, they say that just because someone is wearing certain clothing associated with gangs, does not confirm that the person is involved.

“Unfortunately, we aren’t going to claim to know everything,” Sheriff Deputy McCune said. “Gangs are evolving and they are constantly changing.”

That is why it’s important for citizens to inform local law enforcement of suspicious activity.

According to a handout provided at the presentation, “Everyone wearing ‘Raiders’ clothing or baggy pants is not a gang member.”

But the Sheriff’s Office maintains that parents should trust their instincts when it comes to their own children because they know them better than anyone.

“If you suspect that your child is a gang member, don’t deny your suspicions,” reads the handout.

If you are not sure, ask. The Sheriff’s Office encourages people who suspect their child or friends of being involved in a gang but are unsure of the signs they have noticed, contact local law enforcement.

Local law enforcement has a wealth of knowledge about gang symbols and activities and are there to assist citizens.

The Sheriff’s Office says that it’s up to citizens to aid in the solution.

Active participation in recognizing the signs, and taking steps to intervene with your children when threatened with gang involvement are crucial in aiding the schools, community and law enforcement to stop the progression of gangs in the area, the handout read.

Report it. Record it. Remove it. If you see graffiti in your neighborhood, the Sheriff’s Office encourages citizens to be proactive and first report it to local law enforcement. They will document it, and then it should be removed.

The longer graffiti is allowed to remain can cause conflicts to break out between rival gangs.

Citizens can contact local law enforcement or call Garfield County Crime Stoppers and remain anonymous if you know individuals who are involved with graffiti.

The Sheriff’s Office recommends that no one confront someone who is doing graffiti, but rather obtain information on the culprits unobtrusively and pass it on to them, or the Police. They ask for descriptions of clothing, vehicles, license plate numbers, and any other useful information in identifying a suspect.

If a piece of personal property is “tagged” the Sheriff’s Office says it’s up to the property owner to cover it as soon as possible to try and discourage future incidents.

Contact John Gardner: 384-9114

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