01/21/07 — Grants will target gangs

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Grants will target gangs

By Lee Williams
Published in News on January 21, 2007 2:00 AM

Local law enforcement officials and state officials are stepping up their efforts to drive gangs who commit crimes out of North Carolina.

The Governor's Crime Commission awarded more than $1.5 million in grants to 19 law enforcement agencies to prevent or reduce gang activity in their communities. The grants required a 25 percent match. The Wayne County Sheriff's Office received about $92,572.50 and the Goldsboro Police Department received about $122,680.

"We targeted some of the areas that had not received federal dollars to combat activity in previous awards," said Tony Queen, deputy director for the Governor's Crime Commission.

Smart Choices for Youth, Inc. in Goldsboro also received a $900,000 federal grant to address gangs and youth violence in Wilson and Wayne counties.

"Gang activity is more concentrated in the city, that's why the grant award's differ," Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders said.

Winders said the grant funds will go a long way in deterring gang activity. He said the money will be used to hire an additional officer, who is fluent in Spanish, to join the gang task force and to purchase equipment.

District Court Judge Beth Heath of the 8th Judicial Circuit is also working on a grant designed to eliminate gangs in Lenoir, Greene and Wayne counties, Winders said.