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County Executive Falk and Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz Announce Enhanced Dane County Youth Gang Prevention Task Force

For more information contact:

Lesley Sillaman, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 669-5606
George Twigg, Madison Mayor’s Office (608) 266-4611

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 5/15/2006

Issued By: County Executive
View only releases from County Executive
Madison – Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz today announced the co-chairs and members of the Enhanced Dane County Youth Gang Prevention Task Force whose job it is to combat the negative influences of gangs in our community.

Milt McPike, former principal of East High School, and Luis Yudice, who recently retired as Captain and Acting Assistant Chief from the Madison Police Department, will chair the enhanced task force. The effort is the result of a recommendation from the current Dane County Youth Gang Prevention Task Force Proposed Community Response Plan, announced on November 16, 2005, which recommended naming two community leaders outside of government and having members with a broader community representation because gang problems are not confined to a specific geographic area.

“Gangs are a community-wide problem that we need to work on collaboratively,” said Falk. “While we have been working on this problem for years, Milt and Luis’s leadership will bring new perspectives to this hard and on-going work.”

"Addressing gang activity requires not just a law enforcement response, it requires a community response," said Cieslewicz. "It is my hope that the outstanding leaders who are taking part in this task force will help develop creative approaches to tackling the issue of gang activity in our community."

The mission of the Enhanced Dane County Youth Gang Prevention Task Force is to reduce youth gang violence in Dane County through the following strategies:
· Prevention: Strategies that keep youth from becoming involved in gangs, which can include working to promote stable families, encouraging school success and providing positive ways for young people to engage in the community.
· Intervention: Redirecting young people who are actively involved in gangs and coordinated and timely responses to individuals who are motivated to leave the gang lifestyle, with personal safety as a key element.
· Suppression: Neutralizing violence among active participants in the youth gang scene with a pro-social no-nonsense approach, and improving management of gang identified youth and their activities to minimize the negative impact on our neighborhoods.

Gangs are a community problem that can only be effectively confronted with a comprehensive community response. The negative aspects of gangs in our community affect everyone and everyone has something to contribute to the solutions. The Task Force will assess the variety and extent of gang activity in our community, generate plans for increasing the health and safety of our community with a comprehensive approach, engage the community in the solutions, and provide periodic progress reports.

The Enhanced Task Force members represent a variety of community entities in rural, urban and suburban Dane County.

Falk and Cieslewicz are appointing:

Dane County Supervisors Richard Brown and Dave de Felice
Sheriff Gary Hamblin, Dane County Sheriff’s Office
City of Madison Alderpersons Brian Benford and Noel Radomski
Greg Hoyt, designee of Stoughton Mayor Helen Johnson
Chief Noble Wray, Madison Police Department
Chief Doug Pettit, Village of Oregon Police Department
Detective George Chavez, Madison Police Department
Mario Mendoza, City of Madison Mayor’s Office
Ken Haynes, Dane County Executive’s Office
Quala Champagne, Administrator of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections Division of Community Corrections
Ted Balistreri, Madison Metropolitan School District Safety Coordinator
Stephen Blue, Dane County Department of Human Services Delinquency Services Manager
Kathy Sorenson, Project H.U.G.S
Ron Biendseil, Dane County Department of Human Services Youth Services Coordinator
Nancy Hery, Principal Prairie View Middle School, Sun Prairie
Julie Koenke, Youth Resource Network
Pastor Pedro Suarez, Bethel Lutheran Church
Pastor Richard Jones, Mt. Zion Baptist Church
Linda Hoskins, NAACP
Barbara Franks, Dane County District Attorney’s designee
Kathy Hubbard and Angela Jones, United Way of Dane County

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