Moreno Valley considers adding anti-gang unit officers

LAURIE LUCAS (The Press-Enterprise) | August 23, 2010

Because of a surge in violence, the Moreno Valley City Council will vote tonight on whether to fund three new gang-prevention officers through a surplus in the Police Department budget.

At a recent study session, Moreno Valley Police Chief John Anderson recommended beefed-up patrols. He said gangs have infiltrated the community and no longer limit their drug-dealing to particular turfs.

This year there have been four gang-related homicides, a spike in drive-by shootings, some of which caused serious injuries, and carjacking and robberies involving suspected gang members, he said.

Earlier this month, a brawl near the Sears parking lot on the edge of the Towngate Circle, resulted in the fatal stabbing of 18-year-old David Arcega. Police have not arrested or identified any suspects but Anderson said there’s a “strong possibility” the crime is gang-related.

Mayor Bonnie Flickinger said the board likely will approve spending $580,000 to fund three anti-gang unit positions through June 2011. One will be a new position and two previously defunded motorcycle officer posts will be converted to anti-gang unit positions.

That will bring Moreno Valley’s anti-gang team total to six officers.

“They’ll work every night of the week,” Anderson said. “At the end of the next fiscal year, we’ll revisit the situation.”

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