Hennepin County cities join together to fight gangs

A new effort to fight gang activity in Hennepin County is taking shape.

The Hennepin County Sheriff's department and the county's city police chiefs said their departments will meet bi-weekly to talk about strategies and to coordinate anti-gang activity, according to Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek.

The effort comes three weeks after the Metro Gang Strike Force was shut down after months of controversy.

Stanek said the effort is meant to fill the void of the Strike Force.

"This is an aggressive effort by the local law enforcements agencies and Hennepin County ... to aggressively fight the proliferation of criminal gangs across our local communities," Stanek said.

The agencies will share information about violent offenders, crime patterns and trends, as well as analysis, at the bi-weekly meetings.

Stanek said the biggest gang-related problem facing law enforcement officials today is the proliferation of gang activity to suburban areas outside the core metro region.

"It's not in the inner cities any more," Stanek said. "It moved out to the first-, second-, third-ring suburbs. They're very mobile, geographically imbalanced. So in order to get a handle on it, law enforcement agencies have to work harder and smarter together in order to fight the proliferation of these criminal gangs."

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