WTVM Editorial 02/10/22: Zero Tolerance For Gangs
COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Great military operations always seem to have appropriately great names, Like Operation Desert Storm in 1990.
The mission to get Osama Bin Laden in 2011 was called Operation Neptune Spear for the trident in the Navy Seals logo – the unit that killed the world’s most wanted terrorist.
Big law enforcement operations get code names too, like the sheriff’s Operation Zero Tolerance and the Columbus Police Chief’s Crime Suppression Detail.
Both are great names that spell out what needs to happen if we’re serious about fighting gang violence.
So what is Operation Zero Tolerance?
It’s a Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office initiative that involves the new gang task force and fugitive and drug task forces, all working together to take down known gang members, find and confiscate stolen firearms and make illegal drug seizures.
The separate Columbus Police Chief’s Crime Suppression Detail includes state and local authorities.
Among the two anti-crime efforts, about 60 arrests have been made, with more expected.
Both of these efforts should be applauded because suppressing gang violence is a big job.
Although Operation Zero Tolerance and the Crime Suppression Detail will keep making arrests, the number of arrests should not be the primary measure of success.
Most of the difficult prevention work to keep or get teenagers out of gangs happens quietly…one-on-one, out of the spotlight.
What the public sees are police cars racing down the street with sirens blaring.
Police officers hitting the most violent hot spots can send a message that might discourage some at-risk teenagers from taking the next step toward joining a gang.
But as law enforcement experts remind us, success against gang violence can only happen if the fight happens daily, on all fronts, by police, parents, schools, community groups and churches.
Only then will teens be able to see beyond gangs that there’s a better life and a brighter future ahead.
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