NAMPA, Idaho (AP) — Law enforcement officials in southwestern Idaho are renewing efforts to stop a resurgence of gang-related violence.
High amounts of gang violence in the early 2000s caused the Nampa Police Department to form its own five-officer gang unit, KTVB-TV (http://bit.ly/1JU3dJc ) reported. Those officers were disbanded in 2012, but now city officials say they want all of their 116 officers to re-focus on fighting gang crimes.
"There was a lot of overt behavior in those days, a lot of gang members dressed down and out causing trouble, trying to intimidate people who were just trying to live their own lives," said Deputy Chief Brad Daniels, who was the first officer assigned to tackle the problem in 2000.
Nampa had 76 crimes classified as gang-related in 2014, Sgt. Joe Ramirez said. The number is still lower than the 317 gang-related crimes reported in 2011, but officers are seeing an uptick which is worrisome.
Most recently, three men were arrested after a high-speed chase following the shooting of a Nampa man. Police say Alberto Chavez, 20, shot 26-year-old Kyle Jackson, who had reportedly been antagonizing drivers by yelling and waving a red bandanna. Chavez told police Jackson was a member of a rival gang and had slashed his face with a knife. Jackson was later found unconscious from a gunshot to the head.
Other recent gang crimes have included a fatal stabbing and deadly shootings.
"We're not happy we've seen this increase, but it's not a cause for panic, it's something we're addressing," Daniels said.
Nampa Mayor Bob Henry echoed the officers' sentiments, adding that the city is supportive of the renewed efforts to curb gang related violence.
"We are in lockstep that this is an issue that isn't going to get out of control," Henry said.
Information from: KTVB-TV, http://www.ktvb.com/