Tallahassee Police Department to create gang task force, with community organizations doing their part

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — For ten years, Pastor Rudy Furgeson has fought to keep Tallahassee children and teens away from gang activity through the Dreams Center.

“First, we’ll talk about bandanas, which bandanas represent which gangs,” Furgeson said. “We’re talking nationally, and we’re also talking locally because most of our local gangs pretty much got their description from national gangs.”

The organization focuses on children considered at risk by educating them about the signs and risks of gangs.

“Our goal here in Tallahassee is to make sure they understand what these bandanas stand for, what these graffiti mean, the codes, the books, for gang signs and gang language,” Furgeson said.

With a $120,000 grant from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Tallahassee Police Department said it would create a gang task force. The money will support the additional training of 20 officers. The department will also work more closely with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office.

sergeant. Shade McMillan says part of their focus will be to focus more on middle and high schools, which can be a recruiting ground for gangs.

“It has a lot to do with poor family life, and they reach out to someone who gives them support and unfortunately they sometimes turn to the streets for that support,” said Sgt. McMillan.

According to the Sheriff’s Office report “Anatomy of a Homicide”, 141 homicides occurred in Leon County between 2015 and 2020, 36 of them occurred in ZIP code 32304, the poorest ZIP code. of State.

Eight of them were listed as gang members, with three suspects listed as suspected or confirmed gang members.

These numbers are part of why Fgeson and his organization do the work they do. in the hope of preventing students from going down a dangerous path.

“Our goal is to get them out of that environment and tell them there is another way. It may not be the easiest way, but it’s the best,” Fgeson said.

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