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Tri-City Drug Task Force gets new designation
Gangs beware. The US department of Justice approved the Tri–City drug task force with a "Safe Streets Designation." That means the group will have ramped up resources to pursue not only drug cases in the region, but organized crime and violence cases.
Is this new designation related to the gang raids in Grand Island last week? Not directly.
This is something local law enforcement has wanted even before Operation Pier Pressure. Gang activity isn't new to Central Nebraska
and "Safe Streets" is a way to get ahead to curve that activity.
The Tri–City Drug Task Force will now be The Central Nebraska Drug and Safe Streets Task Force.
That means it will no longer be focused on only stopping drug activity in the area but organized crime, violence and dangerous fugitives.
That goes for all members of the group – FBI, State Patrol, Sheriff's offices – as well as Grand Island, Hastings and Kearney police.
"It brings in money for the purchase of weapons, the payments of informants and those types of things that are needed for these types of works," said Grand Island Police Chief Steve Lamken.
Omaha is the only city and region in the state to have a "safe streets" task force.
But local police said Central Nebraska isn't Omaha. And the FBI said the designation is entirely proactive.
"It's important that you address crime problems in your community as early as you can so they don't develop into a serious problem," said Hastings Police Chief Larry Thoren.
But will this mean we'll see more mass gang arrests like last week?
"I'd anticipate that you're going to see additional arrests for gang related activities along with drug related activities," Thoren said.
But that's not to say there's more gang activity in the region. It may simply mean they're finally being flushed out.
Grand Island city council is expected to approve taking part in the task force with the new safe safety label.
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