FWPD new gang unit has early success

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – City leaders announced Fort Wayne’s revamped gang unit a week ago, and in that week, there have already been three separate cases in which its members have targeted gang activity.

The unit has been working closely with other divisions within the department to solve crimes in the city. However, in order to continue the momentum, police need to keep getting good tips from the public, and they want to emphasize to gang members that the Fort Wayne Police Department is more serious than ever about bringing them to justice.

“We know who they are, and we know the people that they run with,” Deputy Chief Derrick Westfield of the Southeast Division said.

In the past week, the new gang unit has arrested the suspect in a shooting on Decatur Road last week, helped apprehend two suspects after a car chase and crash Thursday night that left two people hurt, and it’s in the process of investigating a shooting last weekend involving five victims all of whom were known gang members.

“Our focus was on the violent crime,” Assistant Chief Steve Reed said. “We had a violent year last year, and one homicide is one too many.”

One change police leaders said is making a difference is that they’re holding regular meetings between their department and the Prosecutors Office.

“To go back and look at those cases that have not yet been solved and to see what we can do and how we can progress,” Reed said.

Police said they’re building cases against people they know to be in gangs or connected to previous violent crimes. They’re continuing to collect evidence in the hopes of making arrests.
They said they are seeing an increase in people coming forward with information, but they still need more help from the community in building those cases.

Tips can be submitted anonymously at the Fort Wayne Police Department website (click on the icon in the upper-right hand corner) or by calling the hotline at (260) 427-1262 .

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