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California Budget Cuts Eliminate Gang, Drug Task Forces

August 19, 2011 03:40:59 pm

Fighting crime on a tight budget can prove difficult as gangs and drugs maintain their strength in California's Tulare County, says the Visalia (CA) Times-Delta. Now that Gov. Jerry Brown cut $71 million from state gang and drug task forces, it's going to get even tougher. Just two months after California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced the Tulare County TARGET team, her office's funding was cut along with 55 task forces across the state. "We are going to see a problem in law enforcement. We'll have no teeth to fight gangs and drugs," said Visalia Police Chief Colleen Mestas. "Investigations are expensive and we weren't expecting this cut to law enforcement."

The team would have been headed by the Visalia Police Department, and included representatives from two other police departments, a sheriff's office, and the California Department of Justice, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Parole, and California Highway Patrol. "The multi-agency approach offers an extreme amount of information and intelligence into the criminal life," said Tulare County sheriff's Capt. Mike Boudreaux. A recent Operation Street Sweeper, which resulted in the arrest of nearly 40 suspected members of the Nuestra Familia street gang, combined efforts from local and state law enforcement, but only temporarily.

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