Office of Attorney General recognized for gang prevention efforts by Virginia Gang Investigators Association

policecar3The Office of Attorney General Mark R. Herring received an award from the Virginia Gang Investigators Association (VGIA) in recognition of its unprecedented support of gang investigators and prevention of gang violence in the Commonwealth.

For more than 25 years, VGIA has been the premier law enforcement organization for training and up-to-date information on the latest gang trends and prevention techniques. Thousands of investigators across the Commonwealth have learned about gangs and honed their skills in trainings given by the VGIA, including OAG’s prosecutors. Chief Deputy Attorney General Cynthia Hudson received the award on behalf of Attorney General Herring.

“Our office is truly honored to receive this award from an organization that works to fight gang violence each and every day,” said Attorney General Mark Herring. “We’re a proud partner of VGIA and we look forward continuing that partnership in order to make our communities and our Commonwealth safer.”

Attorney General Herring and his office offer a variety of resources including gang prevention education and training for law enforcement. Specific programs and initiatives include:

Virginia Gang Investigators Association (VGIA) Conference: Attorney General Herring was the first attorney general to sponsor VGIA’s Annual Gang Conference, which features more than 400 attendees from across the Commonwealth.

Gang busters: This week-long conference is a partnership with the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) to train gang investigators and prosecutors from across the Commonwealth on the latest techniques and trends in gang prevention.

Prosecutions: Attorney General Herring placed a specialized prosecutor in each region of the Commonwealth to go after high-priority drug and gang activity. One of OAG’s prosecutors, Phil Figura, was the very first recipient of VGIA’s Gang Prosecutor of the Year award.

Project Safe Neighborhood: This multi-faceted effort combines hands-on community education and prosecution against high-profile gang members to help reduce gun and gang violence amongst our youth in Norfolk.

Community Outreach: Attorney General Herring placed a community outreach coordinator in every region of the Commonwealth to ensure that OAG’s information and resources were available to all Virginians. Community outreach coordinators work closely with law enforcement and help educate and spread important public safety information, including education on gangs and gang crimes.

Education: OAG promotes a variety of gang prevention educational tools for students and parents. There is a gang-specific module within a program for middle and high-schoolers called Virginia Rules, an educational video with perspectives from former gang members and tips to avoid gang recruitment, and educational literature.

Human Trafficking: Human trafficking is a crime often associated with gang activity. OAG launched a human trafficking campaign and has hosted several human trafficking investigator trainings over the past year.

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