Baldwin Park Police Department doubles size of gang unit amid continued violence

J.D. Velasco (SGV Tribune) | May 01, 2011

Amid continuing episodes of gang violence throughout Baldwin Park, the city’s Police Department recently doubled the size of a unit dedicated to fighting such crimes and is still weighing the possibility of a gang injunction.

Baldwin Park police Lt. David Reynoso said the department increased the number of officers in the Gang Apprehension and Prevention Unit from two to four in the past month. At times, the unit can swell to six or seven officers as needed, he said.

But he said that doesn’t necessarily mean that gang-related crimes have increased this year compared with last year, which saw the lowest homicide rate in three decades for the city.

“We just felt it’s a good time to do it,” he said. “We can’t sit back and be happy. We want to eliminate as much crime as possible.”

Still, the City Council recently asked Police Chief Lili Hadsell to research the possibility of a gang injunction similar to one a judge ordered for parts of La Puente, Bassett, Valinda, Industry and West Covina on April 19.

The injunction there put in place curfews for known members of the Bassett Grande and Puente 13 gangs, bans the use of gang signs and bars gang members from associating with each other inside so-called “safe zones.”

Hadsell said she has spoken to police chiefs who have had experience working with injunctions and has gotten mixed reviews. She said she has not yet formed an opinion of her own.

One of her concerns is the possibility of trampling on the civil rights of someone who has been misidentified as a gang member.

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