Alexandria Gang Prevention Community Task Force
To assist the work of the Senior Policy Work Group on Gangs, the Alexandria City Council formed a task force of community representatives to focus on gang problems and issues. The Alexandria Gang Prevention Community Task Force (Gang Task Force) held its initial meeting on May 18, 2005.
- Increase youth/family participation in positive activities & protective supports aimed at decreasing participation in gang or crew related activities
- Decrease gang and crew crime and incidents
- Increase school attendance and graduation rates
The task force was charged with the following functions and responsibilities:
- Receive briefings on the status of gang suppression, prevention and intervention programs and activities in the City and, in cases directly relevant to the City, the status of similar programs and activities in the metropolitan region
- Provide outreach and education to the Alexandria community about the gang suppression, prevention and intervention programs and activities that occur in the City and in the region
- Identify programs and activities that will address specific gang-related problems or issues in the City. Particular emphasis is on programs and activities that prevent individuals from joining gangs and/or that intervene with individuals who are members of a gang to facilitate their withdrawal from such membership
- Identify opportunities to obtain funding for programs and activities that will address gang-related problems or issues in the City
- Identify state or local laws and track policy that should be enacted or amended to enable the City, and possibly other local governments, to better address problems and issues arising from or related to gangs
On October 10, 2006, the City Council ordered the Alexandria Gang Prevention Community Task Force membership to expand from 13 members to 17 members. Current membership includes the following:
- Two members of the Alexandria City Council
- One member of the Alexandria School Board
- The City Manager or his designee
- One representative of Alexandria City High School
- One representative of City Middle Schools
- One representative of Alexandria Elementary Schools
- One representative of the Private Schools in Alexandria
- One representative with specific outreach to the Latino community
- One representative with specific outreach to the African-American Community
- Two representatives of Alexandria youth, At-Large
- One representative of the Alexandria Interfaith Community
- Two representatives from the City at large
- One representative of parents of Alexandria youth
- One representative of the business community
Please contact Percy White at 703.746.4144 or email@example.com with any questions, or to find out when upcoming meetings are scheduled. You can also check the Boards and Commission Calendar.
Regional Initiatives Related to Strategic Plan
Regional Partnership: 17 jurisdictions that collaborate on suppression, intervention and prevention efforts. The Northern VA Regional Gang Task Force has been in effect since 2003.
Intervention Prevention Education: Specialized education, assessment and case management for gang prevention or intervention cases. Over 800 cases have been served. The City of Alexandria afforded double the staff IPE was designated to receive due to overwhelming proactive referrals from community-serving agencies. IPE Referral Form
Public Service Announcement: “Don’t Lose Yourself in a Gang” PSA originally appeared in newspapers, radio, television, and movie theaters.
Regional Gang Assessment: A comprehensive assessment of regional gang activity publicly released in October 2009. This was the first assessment of its kind in the nation.
Leisure Time Support: Basketball skills camps, soccer tournaments, college soccer games, midnight basketball, and camp opportunities. If you have an idea about programs or positive pro-social activities to engage at-risk youth, please contact Percy White at 703.746.4144 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Networking: Collaborations with other jurisdictions (ex. Florida, Alaska, El Salvador) on implementation of the local gang task force model
Regional Training: Provide training, outreach and workshops to youth, parents, community members and regional professionals on Gang Intervention and Human Trafficking. Contact Percy White at 703.746.4144 or email@example.com for more information.
Washington Metro Gang Prevention Network: Created with Council of Governments and partners in DC and Maryland to enhance regional collaboration on gang prevention, intervention and suppression.
Tattoo Removal Program MAKE A CHANGE: Provided through Fairfax County and Prince William/Loudoun County.
Jobs: Initiative to provide practical skill and employability training with Seaport Foundation and summer jobs program through the City’s Workforce Development Program.
Special Soccer League Program: Organized for our at-risk youth through the Virginia Youth Soccer Association to engage youth in positive recreational activities.
Local Alexandria Initiatives Related to Strategic Plan
Local Gang Task Force: 17 member group since 2005
Senior Policy Work Group: 13 Department Heads (per Regional MOU)
Subcommittee on Job Readiness: The Subcommittee’s initial focus was on job creation, but research revealed that roughly 80 percent of students eligible to be hired for employment through the City’s Workforce Development program failed the ethics exam and could not be hired. The Subcommittee acknowledged that though job creation was still essential, the focus of their efforts needed to expand to include attaining and maintaining employment.
The Subcommittee consulted with Alexandria City Public Schools for a solution, and learned that 21 "workplace readiness skills" are now being taught as part of the curriculum. Businesses had also expressed interest in working with the student population to help reinforce the “workplace readiness skills” learned in school. After meeting with the Workforce Investment Board, educators recognized the value of their potential contributions and invited them to join in the effort to increase knowledge of essential soft skills.
The Gang Task Force provided information and training to the Career & Technical Education staff at TC Williams High School and is working with the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria, the Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy, the Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria and local employment experts to expand these initiatives.
Subcommittee on Community Outreach & Education: Outreach is an integral function of the Alexandria Gang Prevention Task Force. Ongoing collaborative efforts with local and regional police, regional prevention coordinators and other experts - including the Office of the Attorney General - provide specialized information within the local and regional community.
Additionally, the Gang Task Force continues to partner with the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria and the Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy to provide cross-training to educate community members about risky behaviors. This collaborative training provides information about behaviors related to gangs, substance abuse and teen pregnancy in a single session.
The Gang Task Force conducts outreach during National Night Out on an annual basis and authors a newsletter to complement continued visibility on local and regional websites. Thus far in Fiscal Year 2015, over 800 members of the local and regional community have received outreach and education on the topic of gangs and commercial sexual exploitation of children.
Subcommittee on Family Reunification: The Gang Task Force leads discussions with other City agencies and professionals regarding reunification and trauma issues related to youth within the community. As a result, the Task Force has initiated programs to provide personnel development for professional staff and alignment of services and programs to support families who are experiencing reunification. Family reunification refers to families in which one or both parents have left their child in their country of origin to immigrate to the United States. The children are left behind in their home countries with relatives or family friends for a period of time (ranging anywhere from a few months up to fifteen or more years) until they join their family member here in the United States. In 2014, the United States Office of Refugee Resettlement reported that in FY 2014 3,387 children placed with family members in Virginia: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/orr/programs/ucs/state-by-state-uc-placed-sponsors . The Subcommittee on Family Reunification seeks to train City professional staff about this topic and provides support and services to children and families who have experienced reunification.
Youth and Parent Focus: Collaborations with other City agencies to facilitate parent education and support groups (in English and Spanish).
Alexandria Mentoring Partnership: Focuses on increasing effectiveness of mentoring programs, mentor recruitment and enhancing the mentor/mentee experience through best practices and quality based mentoring initiatives.
Frequent community education – Created as a follow-up to major Summit held in 2006, community education sessions have been held once per week on average. Education sessions include proactive requests from ACPS for staff trainings and outreach and workshops to youth, parents, community members and regional professionals on Gang Intervention and Human Trafficking. Contact Percy White at 703.746.4144 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Risky Behavior Presentations – Presentations provide collaborative education on “risky behaviors.” Collaborations include Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy and Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria partnered with PTAs, schools and family centers. Please contact Percy White at 703.746.4144 or email@example.com for this training.
Troubleshooting: Early prevention and intervention efforts with APD, ARHA, RPCA and local nonprofits to reduce threat of emerging crews or gang activity.
Gang Prevention Presentations: Held at schools, nonprofits, churches, residents, and local and federal government agencies.
International City and County Management Association: Alexandria was chosen in an initiative to exchange ideas and information internationally with delegations from El Salvador in the summer and fall of 2014 and in the spring of 2015 through the International City/County Management Association. This initiative is spearheaded by the Municipal Partnerships for Violence Prevention in Central America (known by its Spanish acronym AMUPREV and is funded by the United States Agency for International Development. AMUPREV promotes partnerships between cities in the United States and Central America related to crime and violence prevention. The exchange program brought together elected officials and other distinguished individuals with staff from Alexandria and included three in-person visits. For the third and final phase of this exchange, which took place in April 2015, Deputy Policy Chief Eddie Reyes and Gang Prevention and Intervention Coordinator Joe Regotti traveled to three jurisdictions in El Salvador to share information on Community Policing, After-School Programs, Mentoring, the Comprehensive Gang Model and Measuring Program Success.