SLO sheriff to expand gang task force
June 23, 2016
The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors allocated more than $230,000 to add two deputies to the Sheriff’s Gang Task Force. Sheriff Ian Parkinson says gangs from Santa Maria, as well as Monterey and Kern counties, are moving into SLO County. [KSBY]
Sheriff’s officials requested funding for the new deputies during last week’s county budget hearings. Starting in July, the new gang task force members are expected to patrol areas including Oceano and Templeton.
Parkinson says the gangs that the sheriff’s office is dealing with are primarily Hispanic, but there are also motorcycle gangs appearing in North County and white supremacy gangs in the Five Cities area. More manpower is needed to prevent the gangs in neighboring areas from moving into SLO County, Parkinson said.
In 2015, there were 13 murders in Santa Maria and 40 in Salinas, most of which were due to gang violence. Kern County had 81 homicides in 2015 and has had 54 thus far in 2016, according to KGET.
Though Kern County has a sizeable gang problem, it also has the distinction of being the nationwide leader in fatal police shootings. Law enforcement officers killed more people per capita in Kern County last year than in any other county in the United States. As of early December, Kern County officers had killed 13 people in 2015.
The SLO Sheriff’s Office says the new task force members will not solve the county’s gang problem, but will help address the issue.