A public forum to discuss gang-related violence in Northeast Arkansas will be held at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 7 in the Nettleton High School Performing Arts Center. The forum, created by Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin and the Jonesboro Police Department, is part of a multi-jurisdictional task force working to combat gang activity.
The Organized Criminal Activity Task Force was established this year by regional law enforcement agencies to identify and target for prosecution “criminal enterprise groups,” or gangs, involved in crimes including drug trafficking, money laundering, arms violations, street violence and alien smuggling. The task force is creating a database to share information.
Gangs have been operating in the region for many years and one of their strategies is to involve young people as early as middle school. This program provides information that may help community leaders, educators and law enforcement identify and respond to signs and actions of gang activity.
Forum speakers include Craighead County chief deputy prosecuting attorney Grant DeProw; Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Charlene Davidson Henry, who works with the task force; Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliott; and task force commander and JPD Lt. Kenneth Oldham.
The panelists will discuss gang signs and activities, and the program will include a question-and-answer session. Roy Ockert, retired editor of The Sun, will serve as moderator. The program is open and free to the public.