The Nash County Sheriff's Office is hosting a Gang Awareness event at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 14, in Middlesex with an ex-gang member turned deputy as the guest speaker. I had a chance to talk with the speaker, Det. Jose Hernandez, today and I hope the meeting is well-attended because he has a lot of good information for parents, students and concerned citizens.
He said he plans to talk about the perception versus the reality of gang life while addressing the warning signs of gang activity adults can watch out for and act early. He said, especially in rural communities, people think gangs are not a problem... that the "gang members" are just "Wanna-Bes," but that is far from the truth because that mindset sparks the members to prove themselves at all costs — a dangerous predicament for anyone who gets in their way.
Hernandez added that he is working with the Rocky Mount Police Department on the start-up of their two-person gang task force. Details of the unit are heavily guarded by Rocky Mount officials, but it seems like the problem is significant enough in our city to assign personnel specifically to address the issue.
What do you think about the gang problem in Rocky Mount and in the Twin Counties region? What do you think could be done to address the issues that arise when gangs are prevalent? Will you attend the meeting Wednesday at Stoney Hill Free Will Baptist Church? What do you hope he discusses? Would you like to see more of these presentations offered closer to Rocky Mount?
****Also, I asked if there was a good online resource for parents who are unable to make the meeting and he urged people browse the N.C. Gang Investigators Association site at www.ncgangcops.org. ****