Alexandria Gang Prevention Community Task Force
Alexandria Gang Prevention Community Task Force
Alexandria Gang Prevention Community Task Force
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Charles Houston Recreation Center
901 Wythe Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
- Call to Order and Roll Call: All present confirmed their attendance.
- Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes: Ms. Buttar made a motion to approve the minutes. The motion was seconded, and members approved.
- City Council Opening Comments: None.
- Public Comment: None.
- Task Force History and Expectation: Mr. White gave a brief history of the Alexandria Gang Prevention Community Task Force and stated that members must attend 75 percent of all meetings. Chairman Dillon emphasized the importance of attending meetings.
He requested that members share their “Why”, why they wanted to be a part of the Alexandria Gang Prevention Community Task Force. Member’s “Why included profession and, personal reasons.
- Task Force 3 – 5 year plan Action Plan: Chairman Dillion read the vision and mission statement. The vision: Safety, Support, and Opportunity for All, and the mission statement: Create a gang free community through collaboration, community outreach and advocacy.
Ms. Torres reviewed developmental assets and stated that developmental assets are a framework as in what framework do we want for gang prevention. Ms. Buttar reviewed local data related to youth and developmental assets and discussed the top 40 developmental assets.
- Chairman’s Report: Chairman Dillon proposed meeting an additional time this year to keep up momentum. Mr. Mackey explained that historically the Gang Prevention Community Task Force meets the third Wednesday of October, January, March, and May and offered October 19 as a suggestion.
Chairman Dillon proposed that the Gang Prevention Community Task Force champion three efforts: increased funding for IPE for additional staff in order to reduce their waitlist. The Chairman volunteered to write a letter to City Council requesting additional funds. He will share the letter with members of this body for possible edits. More activities for youth and have focus groups.
- Past and Upcoming Events:
Youth Block Party: September 10th 3 to 7pm at Patrick Henry Recreation Center
Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria: Tuesday, October 4 from 6-7:30 p.m. at Charles Houston Recreation Center
HBCU Festival: October 7th and 8th, seminars to help students and parents prepare for getting into college
Ms. Buttar mentioned Youth Ambassadors. Youth will be paid. Will request contact information and share with members.
- Adjourn: The meeting ended at 8:00pm
Alexandria Gang Prevention Community Task Force Minutes
Thursday June 30, 2022
Canek Aguirre - City Council Member
Alyia Gaskins - City Council Member
Jim Dillon - Chair
Marilyn Cruz - Vice Chair
Thomas Walczykoski - Citizen At-Large
Steve Nelson - African American Community Representative
Bryan Kirkes - Citizen At-Large
Noraine Buttar - City Mangers' Representative/DCHS
Lisette Torres - DCHC
Lt. Jerry Newcomb - APD
Det. Trevor Griffin - APD
Deputy Joseph Runquist - Alexandria Sheriff's Office
Deputy Carlos Canas
Kate Reen - NVFS
Mike Mackey - Director CSU
Michael Johnson - RPCA
Percy White - Gang Task Force Coordinator
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Charles Houston Recreation Center 901 Wythe Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
1. Welcome and Introductions: all present were invited to introduce themselves and their affiliation with the Gang
Prevention Community Task Force.
2. Public Comment – no public comment.
3. Approval of Minutes – after having been properly moved and seconded, the minutes from April 7, 2022, were
4. Review Written Report – to augment written information, those providing reports were individually asked to provide
additional verbal updates and questions were entertained.
Alexandria Police had nothing to add.
A question was asked regarding whether social media is monitored (yes, through law enforcement, probation/parole).
A question was asked as to whether it is predicted that crime will increase over the summer (it may).
Commonwealth Attorney’s Office has 2 gang cases.
CSU informed 7 youth on probation/parole deemed gang involved. This number is consistent with previous reports.
A question was posed relative to youth who are having difficulty such as running away. Mike Mackey explained
referrals may come from a variety of sources, to include parents notifying law enforcement or other
community/school partners. Child in Need of Supervision youth may be brought before the Court; however, the
goal is always to secure support and services prior to Court involvement.
A question was asked regarding ACPS and Truancy Outreach – Ms. Hope Murphy remains the Truancy Outreach
City Manager’s Office – Noraine Buttar recommended the group review the results from the 2022 Developmental
The Gang Prevention Coordinator continues to conduct outreach, e.g., with the Department of Recreation, Parks &
Cultural Activities (DPCA).
Michael Johnson from DPCA announced a number of pro-social, youth-engagement initiatives that are occurring in
July and August. This information will be shared electronically.
Mr. Johnson was asked whether there are enough lifeguards at this time. He stated that they will have lifeguards.
A question was asked of Michael relative to what is needed at this time (for youth, e.g., money, volunteers). Michael
responded that all of the above is needed and more hands-on engagement.
Noraine noted that a critical element is the existence of relationships with youth. Michael added that the problem is
all of ours and questioned our engagement and interest relative to times past.
Deputy Runquist, who has served roughly a decade on the Task Force and will be phasing out in this role, suggested
more activities such as football camps and soccer tournaments. His replacement will be Deputy Carlos Canas.
Deputy Canas informed inmates are younger and there is an orientation in connection with music.
A question was posed relative to the population of gang members at the adult detention center. A lower percentage of
this number are local inmates. A larger discussion including Sheriff Casey occurred relative to local and federal
inmates, including the processes of how each inmate is addressed and gang matters mitigated. It was reiterated that
music seems to be a trend within gangs and is seen as a lucrative area. Sports for all was recommended, as well as
treating all equally (as an example of how to help).
Deputy Runquist recommended that people consider attending the Virginia Gang Investigators Association training
(link to be shared).
The gang Intervention Prevention Education (IPE) program was discussed and explained. There are currently 17
youth on the waiting list. Ms. Reen was asked if more resources (e.g., more staff) could help alleviate the wait list
Additional questions included whether there is extortion (at the high school). APD reported this is not being seen.
There is information relative to the existence of members within groups, for example, those deemed “day laborers”.
As to whether there are enterprises, specifically, no direct ties were reported.
5. Election of leadership – following discussion regarding which members had been approached relative to leadership
(Mr. Dillon, Ms. Nevy-Cruz, Mr. Walczykowski, Mr. Nelson), Mr. Dillon was confirmed as Chair and Ms. Nevy-Cruz
confirmed as Vice Chair. There was no appointment relative to Secretary, a role Mr. White will serve in his capacity
6. Regional Gang Task Force – a review of the history and status of the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force
was provided by APD, the Sheriff’s Office and Court Service Unit. The regional task force continues to operate.
Alexandria is a part of the FBI Task Force. Some distinction relative to the regional gang task force’s focus (e.g.,
Loudoun County) was shared.
7. Task Force Strategic Plan - Ms. Buttar and Ms. Torres led the group in processing further work into its strategic
The Task Force Mission Statement - Create a gang free community through collaboration, community outreach and
The Task Force Vision - Safety, Support, and Opportunity for All.
8. Additional discussion matters and action items – the Task Force discussed possibility meeting in late July/early
August. Mr. White will poll the group to determine a date and continue the positive energy and work.
Next Steps and Adjourn – the chair processed the adjournment of the meeting at 8:09pm.
Gang Prevention Coordinator
To assist the work of the Senior Policy Work Group on Gangs, the Alexandria City Council formed a task force of community representatives to focus on gang problems and issues. The Alexandria Gang Prevention Community Task Force held its initial meeting on May 18, 2005.
Vision, Mission, and Responsibilities
Safety, support and opportunity for all.
To create a gang free community through collaboration, community outreach, and advocacy.
- Increase youth/family participation in positive activities & protective supports aimed at decreasing participation in gang or crew related activities
- Decrease gang and crew crime and incidents
- Increase school attendance and graduation rates
The task force was charged with the following functions and responsibilities:
- Receive briefings on the status of gang suppression, prevention and intervention programs and activities in the City and, in cases directly relevant to the City, the status of similar programs and activities in the metropolitan region
- Provide outreach and education to the Alexandria community about the gang suppression, prevention and intervention programs and activities that occur in the City and in the region
- Identify programs and activities that will address specific gang-related problems or issues in the City. Particular emphasis is on programs and activities that prevent individuals from joining gangs and/or that intervene with individuals who are members of a gang to facilitate their withdrawal from such membership
- Identify opportunities to obtain funding for programs and activities that will address gang-related problems or issues in the City
- Identify state or local laws and track policy that should be enacted or amended to enable the City, and possibly other local governments, to better address problems and issues arising from or related to gangs
On October 10, 2006, the City Council ordered the Alexandria Gang Prevention Community Task Force membership to expand from 13 members to 17 members. Current membership includes the following:
- Two members of the Alexandria City Council
- One member of the Alexandria School Board
- The City Manager or his designee
- One representative of Alexandria City High School
- One representative of City Middle Schools
- One representative of Alexandria Elementary Schools
- One representative of the Private Schools in Alexandria
- One representative with specific outreach to the Latino community
- One representative with specific outreach to the African-American Community
- Two representatives of Alexandria youth, At-Large
- One representative of the Alexandria Interfaith Community
- Two representatives from the City at large
- One representative of parents of Alexandria youth
- One representative of the business community
Please contact Percy White at 703.746.4144 or email@example.com with any questions, or to find out when upcoming meetings are scheduled. You can also check the Boards and Commission Calendar.
Regional Initiatives Related to Strategic Plan
Regional Partnership: 17 jurisdictions that collaborate on suppression, intervention and prevention efforts. The Northern VA Regional Gang Task Force has been in effect since 2003.
Intervention Prevention Education: Specialized education, assessment and case management for gang prevention or intervention cases. Over 800 cases have been served. The City of Alexandria afforded double the staff IPE was designated to receive due to overwhelming proactive referrals from community-serving agencies. IPE Referral Form
Public Service Announcement: “Don’t Lose Yourself in a Gang” PSA originally appeared in newspapers, radio, television, and movie theaters.
Regional Gang Assessment: A comprehensive assessment of regional gang activity publicly released in October 2009. This was the first assessment of its kind in the nation.
Leisure Time Support: Basketball skills camps, soccer tournaments, college soccer games, midnight basketball, and camp opportunities. If you have an idea about programs or positive pro-social activities to engage at-risk youth, please contact Percy White at 703.746.4144 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Networking: Collaborations with other jurisdictions (ex. Florida, Alaska, El Salvador) on implementation of the local gang task force model
Regional Training: Provide training, outreach and workshops to youth, parents, community members and regional professionals on Gang Intervention and Human Trafficking. Contact Percy White at 703.746.4144 or email@example.com for more information.
Washington Metro Gang Prevention Network: Created with Council of Governments and partners in DC and Maryland to enhance regional collaboration on gang prevention, intervention and suppression.
Tattoo Removal Program MAKE A CHANGE: Provided through Fairfax County and Prince William/Loudoun County.
Jobs: Initiative to provide practical skill and employability training with Seaport Foundation and summer jobs program through the City’s Workforce Development Program.
Special Soccer League Program: Organized for our at-risk youth through the Virginia Youth Soccer Association to engage youth in positive recreational activities.
Local Alexandria Initiatives Related to Strategic Plan
Local Gang Task Force: 17 member group since 2005
Senior Policy Work Group: 13 Department Heads (per Regional MOU)
Subcommittee on Job Readiness: The Subcommittee’s initial focus was on job creation, but research revealed that roughly 80 percent of students eligible to be hired for employment through the City’s Workforce Development program failed the ethics exam and could not be hired. The Subcommittee acknowledged that though job creation was still essential, the focus of their efforts needed to expand to include attaining and maintaining employment.
The Subcommittee consulted with Alexandria City Public Schools for a solution, and learned that 21 "workplace readiness skills" are now being taught as part of the curriculum. Businesses had also expressed interest in working with the student population to help reinforce the “workplace readiness skills” learned in school. After meeting with the Workforce Investment Board, educators recognized the value of their potential contributions and invited them to join in the effort to increase knowledge of essential soft skills.
The Gang Task Force provided information and training to the Career & Technical Education staff at Alexandria City High School and is working with the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria, the Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy, the Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria and local employment experts to expand these initiatives.
Subcommittee on Community Outreach & Education: Outreach is an integral function of the Alexandria Gang Prevention Task Force. Ongoing collaborative efforts with local and regional police, regional prevention coordinators and other experts - including the Office of the Attorney General - provide specialized information within the local and regional community.
Additionally, the Gang Task Force continues to partner with the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria and the Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy to provide cross-training to educate community members about risky behaviors. This collaborative training provides information about behaviors related to gangs, substance abuse and teen pregnancy in a single session.
The Gang Task Force conducts outreach during National Night Out on an annual basis. In Fiscal Year 2021, 1426 local, regional, and state-wide audience members received outreach and education on the topic of gangs and commercial sexual exploitation of children.
Subcommittee on Family Reunification: The Gang Task Force leads discussions with other City agencies and professionals regarding reunification and trauma issues related to youth within the community. As a result, the Task Force has initiated programs to provide personnel development for professional staff and alignment of services and programs to support families who are experiencing reunification. Family reunification refers to families in which one or both parents have left their child in their country of origin to immigrate to the United States. The children are left behind in their home countries with relatives or family friends for a period of time (ranging anywhere from a few months up to fifteen or more years) until they join their family member here in the United States. In 2014, the United States Office of Refugee Resettlement reported that in FY 2014 3,387 children placed with family members in Virginia: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/orr/programs/ucs/state-by-state-uc-placed-sponsors . The Subcommittee on Family Reunification seeks to train City professional staff about this topic and provides support and services to children and families who have experienced reunification.
Youth and Parent Focus: Collaborations with other City agencies to facilitate parent education and support groups (in English and Spanish).
Alexandria Mentoring Partnership: Focuses on increasing effectiveness of mentoring programs, mentor recruitment and enhancing the mentor/mentee experience through best practices and quality based mentoring initiatives.
Frequent community education – Created as a follow-up to a major Summit held in 2006, community education sessions have been held once per week on average. Education sessions include proactive requests from ACPS for staff trainings and outreach and workshops to youth, parents, community members and regional professionals on Gang Intervention and Human Trafficking. Contact Percy White at 703.746.4144 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Risky Behavior Presentations – Presentations provide collaborative education on “risky behaviors.” Collaborations include Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy and Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria partnered with PTAs, schools and family centers. Please contact Percy White at 703.746.4144 or email@example.com for this training.
Troubleshooting: Early prevention and intervention efforts with APD, ARHA, RPCA and local nonprofits to reduce threat of emerging crews or gang activity.
Gang Prevention Presentations: Held at schools, nonprofits, churches, residents, and local and federal government agencies.
International City and County Management Association: Alexandria was chosen in an initiative to exchange ideas and information internationally with delegations from El Salvador in the summer and fall of 2014 and in the spring of 2015 through the International City/County Management Association. This initiative is spearheaded by the Municipal Partnerships for Violence Prevention in Central America (known by its Spanish acronym AMUPREV and is funded by the United States Agency for International Development. AMUPREV promotes partnerships between cities in the United States and Central America related to crime and violence prevention. The exchange program brought together elected officials and other distinguished individuals with staff from Alexandria and included three in-person visits. For the third and final phase of this exchange, which took place in April 2015, Deputy Policy Chief Eddie Reyes and Gang Prevention and Intervention Coordinator Joe Regotti traveled to three jurisdictions in El Salvador to share information on Community Policing, After-School Programs, Mentoring, the Comprehensive Gang Model and Measuring Program Success.