The Crosby Independent School District wants to keep gangs out of its schools. That is the reason two law enforcement officers assigned to the district have been participating in weeklong training intended to help repel the emergence of gangs.
Harris County Precinct 3 deputy constables Richard Miranda and Michael Cross during the week of June 27 have been attending the annual Texas Gang Investigators Association Training Conference in Irving. The trainers are recognized in the criminal justice field as experts in the illegal enterprises of street gangs and prison gangs.
The seminar covers gang basics and delves into the methods of specific gangs. The distinctive clothing colors, tattoos, written signs and hand gestures are covered to enhance recognition. Much of the training is more extensive, consistent with the evolving pervasiveness and looming threats of the ubiquitous criminal organizations.
"Gangs are most definitely a serious problem throughout Harris County, Texas, and the United States," Precinct 3 Chief Deputy Constable David Franklin said. "When you talk gangs, you have all the way from little high school gangs and 'wannabes' all the way to the real thing, Aryan Brotherhood and that kind of stuff.
"This training gets you together with other people - in this situation it's the school - and learn what to look for and to recognize, try to stay on top of it. Visibility is 90 percent of law enforcement."
Superintendent Dr. Keith Moore applauds the preventive nature of the conference, the information from which ideally will enable officers and staff to nip any trouble in the bud.
"My overall philosophy on them going to that conference is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," Moore said. "Not to say that we are immune to those kind of issues in Crosby, but we have safe schools and so forth; my two daughters go to school here. I feel very comfortable with that, but we also don't need to be blind to the fact that those influences are around us."
The superintendent recognizes the reason that organizers annually conduct the training.
"If you take the approach that you've been to that training once, four or five years ago, and you feel like you don't need to refresh yourself, I think that you are mistaken," Moore said. "You better stay current or it becomes harder and harder to identify and then to handle."
Only association members, to include judges, prosecutors, and officers in law enforcement, corrections and probation, are permitted to attend the training.
The Texas Attorney General's Office, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives joined the Multijurisdictional Counterdrug Task Force in co-sponsoring the training.
The general public may obtain online information about gangs and about law enforcement efforts to suppress them. The Stop Houston Gangs Task Force, of which the Harris County Sheriff's Department is a member, has a Web site: www.stophoustongangs.org.