Gangs headed to rural areas, official says

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By Michael McNutt Modified: October 24, 2007 at 2:04 pm •  Published: October 24, 2007
More gangs are moving to rural areas of Oklahoma where few law officers have been trained on how to deal with them, the state's top drug agent said today.

About 9 percent of police officers in cities have received some type of gang training, according to a recent survey of state law officers, said R. Darrell Weaver, director of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control.

In rural areas, only about 2 percent of law officers have received some training on gangs, Weaver said.

Gangs are going to rural areas because city police departments are making progress cracking down on gang activities, he told a joint meeting of the Oklahoma Youth and Gang Violence Coordinating Council and the Oklahoma Gang Intervention Steering Committee.

The two committees, made up of about 40 members from law enforcement, state agencies and groups that work with juveniles, reviewed comments from four subcommittees. They hope to come up with proposed bills and funding suggestions for next year's legislative session to beat back the growing number of gangs and their influence on Oklahoma's youth.

No action was taken during today's meeting. Both groups will meet together again in December.