TULARE – A newly created multi-agency task force aims to cut down on gang violence in the Central Valley.
State Attorney General Kamala Harris announced the creation of the new task force in Tulare on Thursday. She said that the task force will help state and local agencies better share information and resources. It will also allow the local police and sheriff’s departments to make use of services offered through the Department of Justice, such as DNA testing.
“With the creation of this task force, the Department of Justice is better positioned to assist and support Central Valley law enforcement as they strive to combat criminal gangs that are gaining footholds in local jurisdictions,” Harris said.
The task force will be able to seek help from the Department of Justice with investigations, legal advice and writing search warrants.
Harris said that during the state’s budget shortfall, this task force will help agencies share their resources and work together to combat crime.
“I want to take the message back to Sacramento that we cannot overlook public safety when we make these difficult decisions around the budget,” she said.
The task force includes representatives from the California Department of Justice, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Tulare Sheriff’s Department and the Tulare, Porterville and Visalia police departments. It has been a year in the making, Harris said.
The goal of the task force is to combat transnational gangs throughout California.
“These criminals operate without respect to city and county boundaries and it’s incumbent upon us to combine our efforts to defeat them,” Harris said.