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The Return of the Gang and Drug Task Force?

Police Chief Steve Sweeney would like to add additional officers to help bring back a gang and drug unit to the department, but that decision will ultimately be up to the city council.

Resurrecting a police gang and drug task force has been a priority for city officials. That priority is now likely near the top of the city council's to-do list after the recent .

City officials are working to develop its next two-year budget, and will have to make tough decisions facing a $4 million deficit, Mayor John Marchand said. The council is scheduled to adopt its fiscal year 2012-2013 budget in June.

Police Chief Steve Sweeney says he would like to add additional officers to the department to help bring back a unit that would focus on drugs and gangs in town. The department currently has 83 officers on staff — down from the 95 officers employed in 2009.

"We're looking to add more resources to the police department if we can," Sweeney said. "In the meantime we are looking at better ways to reorganize (officers to cover) gang and drug issues."

Marchand said residents have voiced public safety to be their No. 1 priority.

"We will do everything we can," Marchand said of adding additional officers. "We may well have to shift resources from one department to another in order to accomodate that."

Meanwhile, met with Marchand and police to discuss the Easter shooting. Officials provided information on Neighborhood Watch groups and other resources to help residents.

"I wanted to bring the neighborhood together so that they can work together," Marchand said.

Sweeney also reminded residents that they are the eyes and ears of the city, and encouraged neighbors to report any suspicious activity and crime to the police department.

"We need your help," Sweeney said. "It’s really working together that keeps us a safe community."

If you are interested in starting a Neighborhood Watch in your neighborhood you can contact Nicole Aguon with the at 925-371-4978.

If you would like to join the Springtown/Vasco/Scenic area Neighborhood Watch, contact at katlaing@comcast.net.

JoAnne April 21, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Why do we do without fundamental city services like police officers for a larger theater? The city needs to deny the regional theater, protect the city's finances so that they can fund officers, and serve the majority by providing community safety.
Livermore_Fan April 21, 2012 at 01:30 AM
I'm sorry for your ignorance but surely you must know that a possible future regional theater and the past termination of the gang task force have absolutley no connection.
JoAnne April 21, 2012 at 01:53 AM
When Livermore backs the regional theater bonds with the general funds, then there is a financial liability. The failure to hire new police to replace those retiring may have had nothing to do with the regional theater proposal, but that changed when the financial well being of the city became dependent on whether the city accepts fiscal liability for the regional theater. The first city service that should be cut to provide adequate police protection is the service to the regional theater bond.
Sandy April 21, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Well stated, Joanne...... I am pleased to read this I must say. It has been a huge concern of mine and many of my friends whose children are entering middle and high school. It has gotten so severe, some are wanting to move..... I do not allow my son to wear the color red when we are downtown or just out and about ...... The Easter Sunday shooting just rocked us already concerned parents. This needs to be addressed fast......before it spreads like wild fire......and it will. Thank you for making this a priority. As the safety of our children and our community should come first.
Trevor Tooze April 21, 2012 at 02:44 PM
I understood the the new theatre plans are dead & buried. Someone please correct me if I am wrong.
MTG April 21, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Very happy to Chief Sweeney is trying to get this team back - he shouldn't have to make anymore cuts. it's essential for keeping Livermore safe & manageable against crime. Many Years ago Oakland use to be the spot for entertainment & dining...that city has been overrun with gangs & violence. No one would have said it was possible to get to the point they are at today. I hope the city council makes this happen so these thugs realize there is no room or tolerance in Livermore for that stuff. Thank you Chief & LPD for doing your best with limited staff to keep us safe.
Bryon Bruce April 21, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Show me documented evidence of how a gang unit helps develop a sense of civic community through latino peoples. Show me how a drug task force curbed the use of drugs through our community. Show me when and where.
Tony jr... April 21, 2012 at 03:03 PM
That's the best news I've heard in a while. Livermore definitely needs more police officers , especially dealing with the gangs and drugs in our town. Hooray !!!!!!!
JoAnne April 21, 2012 at 03:09 PM
The Oversight Committee for the RDA is determining whether to go forward with the regional theater plans. Not surprisingly, LVPAC is lobbying hard for the regional theater. The next meeting is May 2 at 3 in the Livermore City Council Chambers. So to answer your question, the plans for a 2,000 seat theater are buried (especially with meetings during work days) but it is not dead. The link about the oversight committee http://www.google.com/#hl=en&sclient=psy-ab&q=oversight+committee+Livermore+RDA+meetings&oq=oversight+committee+Livermore+RDA+meetings&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_nf=1&gs_l=serp.3...3528.5983.0.6265.9.9.0.0.0.0.250.1720.0j4j5.9.0.86o6pd7MK2k&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=98f6d9d2e4b0df84
JoAnne April 21, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Sorry, it should read “The oversight committee for the RDA dissolution….”
Lmr April 21, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Great news!!! More police fewer drugs and let's drive the gangs out of Livermore. We do need to be the eyes and ears of the police department. The police need to have the resourses to respond quickly. I'm in total support. I do agree that once a drug and gang task force is established we need to see documented results to ensure continued financial support.
Lmr April 21, 2012 at 04:35 PM
I completely agree!!
James Buckley April 21, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Hay Bryon, Lets do nothing, don't want to offend any one race, now do we. If the task force saves one life of a child playing in his yard, it's worth it. If only a few drug busts are made, it's worth it. Your mentality requires you to give of your free time to held the coroner remove childrens bodies from the yard. As for offending any non-productive, trouble making, system milking, law breaking Latino's, they can leave Livermore now, and be back home in Mexico in time for Cinco day Mayo.
Dan Twomey April 21, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Chief Sweeney has my vote.
Jem April 22, 2012 at 04:42 AM
As you can see from James comment when you bring race into these discussions it turns ugly quick. Regardless of your race or creed if your intent is criminal the community has the right to protect itself. The above article was from a Neighborhood Watch meeting set up by the Mayor to discuss the situation around a community that has had the most weapon assault incidents in Livermore in the past six months (year?). Of the ten citizens at the meeting none were from the affected area. If you want to live in a democracy you need to exercise your rights/responsibility to positively engage your community and local government. Otherwise, the community has no choice but to localize the problem and enforce more invasive corrective measures.
SR April 22, 2012 at 05:01 AM
I live in Walnut Creek. Don't repeat our mistakes. The Walnut Creek library and Regional Center for the Arts have drained city services. Cut police officers, delayed road improvements, no new swim center, parks decaying-these are the results of poor financial planning and unanticipated operating costs that have continued to increase year after year. Do not let a small group of arts supporters drain city coffers. These programs should come from private donations and businesses, not tax dollars.
Trevor Tooze April 22, 2012 at 05:38 AM
To all the readers that having the LPD have a gang/drug force, I remind them of the old cliche; "it is better to nip it in the bud", than try weed kiler later
GRS April 22, 2012 at 10:47 PM
I am a big fan of the Regional Theater and have been an avid supporter for years. But safety always comes first. A gang task force absolutely will make a difference. It is no coincidence that gang activity has increased since the task force was dismantled. The police department needs more officers on the streets. One thing I would recommend the police department doing is to patrol the trouble areas more. I take a shortcut on Chestnut from my place of business to my home near Stanley daily. I have not seen a police car on that street in months. That area should be saturated with police cruisers. Yet I see once parked on the Assisted Living Center on Stanley daily with a radar gun pointed at me. They should be parked on Chestnut and patrolling the trouble spots heavily. There is nothing racial and it’s not profiling….I am Latino. The bottom line is that there have been two shootings in broad day light on Sunday afternoons(one being Easter) on that street in the last 6 months. We need more officers on the streets and more officers in the trouble areas.I have never been a big fan of an overbearing police presence but I want the streets of Livermore to be safe for my kids. I think the results of this poll speak for itself. Attention City Council Members: We need more police officers and if you don't every single one of you will be voted out of office. People are concerned, angry, worried and are not going to sit by idly and let this happen to our town.
Ron Geren April 23, 2012 at 12:08 AM
I believe someone else has said it, but I think a police substation should be located in or near the problem areas and not next to The Bankead Theater. Along with community involvement, it is the police presence that will deter gang activity.
D.C. April 23, 2012 at 01:04 AM
We HAVE a regional theater - the Bankhead. It is THAT simple. Anything more is GRAFT. It is time for Marchand and Co. to spend less time finding ways to make themselves popular at cocktail parties and city events, and a LOT more time on getting the varied Norteno and Sureno problem dealt with unless they want more folks to be in Zimmerman's shoes. Yep, I said it.
Jake The Dog April 23, 2012 at 03:31 AM
Found this to be an interesting read. http://www.independentnews.com/news/article_5daf227a-00e1-11e1-8291-001cc4c03286.html
Mark Tarte April 24, 2012 at 04:56 AM
Byron, a gang task force does much more than arrest gangbangers. First, being in a gang in and of itself is not a crime. However, conspiring to commit a crime, assisting before or after a crime as part of a gang is. The task force would be able to legally keep tabs on known gangbangers, ID associates and basically keep things in check, as well as be at the front when an investigation is involving gang members by knowing the players involved. The same holds true with a drug investigation and many times they are interwoven. Besides, having less than 1 cop per thousand population puts a burden on the patrol force and increases response times to non-critical calls and a host of other problems. Having persons so dedicated can only assist both patrol and investigations and do have a positive impact on public safety and many times with the gangbangers themselves.
Bong Sativa May 07, 2012 at 01:00 AM
People use drugs because they're fun,let's use our meager law enforcement resources to arrest those who commit crimes against people & property. Drugs & gangs aren't going anywhere no matter how much of the taxpayer's money is wasted in the process. Livermore doesn't need more police,they just need to get their priorities straight. The war on drugs has been an abysmal failure & the gang members will all eventually come in contact with our judicial system,task forces nonwithstanding.
Dewey Maxwell May 17, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Dear Livermore Fan, Bryon and Bong(stupid name).; why don't you people get a clue?
Vincent Ochsen June 21, 2012 at 09:30 AM
All i know is Livermore PD and OFFICER FOX raided my house when i was 4 on a unsubstantiated. Tip from our crazy cousin that my mom was gonna shoot her, they closed the schools and evacuated the neighborhood. My ma caught wind of it and went outside spread out, they slam her around like she isnt cooperating of course, then proceeds to walk my great grandmother outside w a rife in her back. Keep in mind she had just had knee surgery in both legs. She could barely walk, they put a gun in her face n tell her to get down, she tries to but cant even move her body right to do so, so they help her out by grabbing her shoulders (ar 4 ft 11inches tall) and push her to her knees on our driveway. Needless to say she hasnt recovered yet and lives with horrible pain. All this to make no arrests. Screw livermore pd, their dirty. (With an exeption of few) seriously who does tht to an old woman. Idk care what situation. Its like she could run away or shank anyone she could barely move and she was over weight. And of course our lawyer wouldnt go against the city so livermore pd got off scott free. This one of of many incidents livermore Pd went wayyyy overboard. I will never trust them or feel safe. They can do whatever they want, and take advantage of that power. IA needs to look way deeper into u pricks.
Ken Rovasio June 21, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Wow, you sound very bitter. I hope you never need the LPD for anything! The LPD has done so much great stuff for the community and you are to blind to see it. They offer great programs to offer like having parents check to to see if there kids cars seat are in properly. They are out in the community helping raise money for many charity organizations. Most of all, they are protecting you and me weather you like it or not. So if you ever have your car broke into, a bike stolen or shot at by a gang member, do us all a favor and don't call our fantastic LPD!
Erick dison September 11, 2012 at 08:46 PM
I don't think its a good idea to get invold. Gangs fight gangs not other people. Getting invold and snitching could change that and put us in danger. Mined your buisness and they will mined theres. They only hate one thing more then there rivals and thats snitches. Just my thoughts on this subject. I mean better for bullets to be aimed at there enemies then me or my family.
Livermoronian May 08, 2013 at 05:10 PM
Their bullets don't always hit the intended target and then little kids on tricycles get hit. The last two shootings were right across the street from McDonald's where there are children coming and going. I think we need to be involved...deeply involved. Do you see how many little innocent children are getting shot and killed in Oakland, because they didn't have enough police to nip all that gang crap in the bud before it ran rampant. NO...we need to get involved, very involved. The sooner the better, before a stray bullet misses one of the intended targets and hits an innocent bystander. Snitch away...citizens of Livermore. We are a community that will not tolerate any of this. Be a part of the neighborhood watch and snitch, snitch, snitch on everything and everyone that you see that should, could and would need looking into.
Livermoronian May 08, 2013 at 05:28 PM
I was under the impression that the gang task force was already back! Plus, I can't believe that "NO" is winning over a "YES" vote. What kind of people are you that you are voting "NO"!!
Livermoronian May 10, 2013 at 05:19 PM
Oops...thank you, Smitty. It all makes sense now. The task force IS here and doing a great job!

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