New police gang unit to hit the streets

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Word of a new gang unit was the biggest piece of news to come out of Mayor Tom Henry’s State of the City Address Wednesday afternoon.  City leaders we spoke with about the new gang unit said it’s a great idea.  A move made by newly appointed Fort Wayne Police Chief Garry Hamilton.

Gang violence was a big contributor to 2013 being the deadliest year in Fort Wayne.  A fact that has some people on edge.

“They say what are you going to do about the crime? What are you going to do about the homicides?” Fort Wayne City Councilman Tom Didier said.

Director of Public Safety Rusty York said the new gang unit aims to bring down known gang members and eliminating violence.

“If they open up the paper and they don’t see a homicide that has occurred or gang violence, I think that just adds to the comfort level and that’s the goal,” York said.

The plan: completely reorganizing the current unit.  Adding more officers and resources.

“I think it’s looking at practices that do work in other locals and then plugging them in here to Fort Wayne.  It’s an enhancement and I think it will be good.”

All things city leaders say will make a difference.

“It’s going to derail what the gangs are trying to do. If you eliminate those situations, then you won’t have the fear,” Didier said.

From an economic and job creation standpoint it won’t be the thing that makes potential new employers want to move here.  Because Great Fort Wayne Inc officials say they’re not looking at our crime rate right now.

“Businesses looking to move to Fort Wayne or any area are looking at the momentum in the community and as the Mayor talked today there’s a lot of momentum downtown,” spokesperson for Greater Fort Wayne Inc John Urbahns said.

Chief Hamilton is expected to release more details Friday about how he’s rebuilding the gang unit.  Of course we’ll update you with all of the details.

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