The Salt Lake City Division has selected the Salt Lake Area Gang Project to receive the Director's Community Leadership Award.
The Salt Lake Area Gang Project was established in 1990. It is a multijurisdictional law enforcement task force represented by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. The mission of the Salt Lake Area Gang Project is to identify and investigate street gangs and members in the state of Utah; divert gang members into positive programs and activities through education and community support efforts; provide law enforcement agencies with information and assistance leading to apprehension and prosecution of gang members; and suppress gang activities through proactive enforcement efforts.
The Gang Project hosts the Utah Gang Conference, administering the tattoo-removal program; coordinating the Serious Habitual Offender Comprehensive Action Program (SHOCAP); managing the Public Enemy #1 Program; and providing community education classes, elementary education pilot programs, graffiti intelligence meetings, and parent education classes.
The annual Utah Gang Conference is the second-largest conference in the West with over 900 attendees. Participants receive 14 hours of training from subject-matter experts.
The tattoo-removal program is a team effort with the University of Utah Hospital doctors and staff removing tattoos of gang members who desire to put gang life behind them. The Gang Project screens applicants for suitability, and the hospital staff volunteers provide the laser removal process.
The detectives assigned to work with the SHOCAP work with counselors, educators, court workers, and law enforcement. This group selects at-risk youth and develops a corrective action plan, then follows up with the youth and monitors their compliance with the plan through school, home, and institutional contacts.
The Public Enemy #1 Program is an example of the positive results of law enforcement and the community working together. This program selects a violent wanted gang member to be designated Public Enemy #1. The pertinent information about the wanted person is broadcast by local news media. The feature solicits community support for information regarding the subject. Through the use of this process, 95 percent of those featured have been apprehended.
The Gang Project detectives deliver approximately 100 presentations per year reaching over 7,800 individuals with information about gangs and gang-related activities. This class is designed to help community members recognize and understand gang membership and the effects on the community. The project has also developed a presentation aimed at helping parents identify the signs of gang membership and intervene if necessary.