Recently my department was notified that a lead law enforcement agency will no longer be maintaining a regional gang database.
A Chicago mayoral candidate announced she plans on shutting down Chicago PD’s database.
Several years ago we were all encouraged to sign onto a regional program. This data base provided law enforcement the ability to search variables including, nicknames, vehicles, gang names, tattoos etc. Officers have spent hundreds if not thousands of hours compiling this information.
In Lake County, Illinois we have approximately 1,100 “documented” gang members. Statistics show that 85 percent of the gangs are based in Chicago. One of the issues we’ve struggled with is the fluidity of the gangs we are dealing with. Lake County is made up of multiple police jurisdictions that allow for constant movement of gang members as opposed to a more territorial based gang system in major cities.
I’ve been involved in investigating dozens of gang related shootings and homicides where a major lead was developed from a nickname. A simple inquiry into the data base provided us with information that inevitably lead to an arrest or at minimum pointed us in the right direction.
“Wisdom is knowing the right path to take. Integrity is taking it.”
– M.H. McKee
Unfunded mandates, elimination of vital intelligence for the sake of political vote pandering is leading us into a dangerous situation.
Instead of knee jerking decisions for the sake of a few votes why not come up with viable solutions that include law enforcement input.
Chief George Filenko, retired commander of the Lake County Major Crime Task Force, current chief of police Village of Round Lake Park, Illinois; has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Discovery ID etc., public speaker, lecturer.