Forum to address gang issues

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 23, 2007

AHOSKIE – Hertford County’s law enforcement agencies are coming together.

The Hertford County Sheriff’s Office is joining forces with the Murfreesboro Police Department, the Ahoskie Police Department and Hertford County Public Schools to sponsor a Gang Awareness Forum next week.

The agencies all have expressed concern about gang-related activities which have surfaced in the county.

“I think it’s very critical that parents and adults in the area be aware of the implications of this behavior and be educated so as to help us stop this problem before it takes root,” Murfreesboro Police Chief Darrell Rowe said. “I would ask all parents that are able to please come out.”

The forum is slated for 6:30 p.m. at the Hertford County High School cafeteria on Thursday, March 29.

“We will be discussing the situation here in Hertford County,” Hertford County Schools Security Coordinator Curtis A. Freeman said. “Our focus will be on our problem here.”

Sheriff Juan Vaughan said he wanted to make parents aware of what type of activities they should be concerned about.

“Hopefully, we can make the parents and/or guardians aware of signs to look for and try to prevent something from happening in Hertford County,” he said. “The old saying is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

The sheriff said the new problems that have surfaced concerning possible gangs has caused a learning process for everyone.

“We know something about it, but we have never had to face these problems in Hertford County before,” Vaughan said. “I know from all the graffiti we’re seeing in different areas, we are having a problem.

“We want them to know we’re not going to tolerate it,” he added. “We are going to do what we can to prevent it, we just need help.”

Ahoskie Police Chief Troy Fitzhugh echoed the thoughts about having the community work together.

“Basically we’re having a forum to get people acclimated to what’s going on with gangs and the school system and what we’re planning to do about it,” he said. “We’re going to try to take a proactive approach to this gang activity and reduce it.

“We have to develop a strategy to work with the community,” he continued. “Certainly, I would like to see us work together with businesses in reference to the vandalism as well. We want to take it down as soon as it goes up.”

All parents and interested parties are invited to attend the public forum.

For more information, contact Freeman at 332-4096 Ext. 146.