Press "Enter" to skip to content

What’s going on and what’s needed to stop gangs

By Kay S. Pedrotti Citizens were told about some existing programs that help youth avoid becoming gang members, as well as things the community can do for prevention, at a recent community awareness meeting at the Barnesville Police Department. BPD community relations officer Belinda Penamon outlined these activities already sponsored or in the works from law enforcement: National Night Out Aug. 4, 2015, a community gathering for everybody to ‘get to know your local law enforcement and what role citizens have in crime prevention.’ The BPD will hold the event downtown and the LCSO in Milner on the same evening. LCSO CHAMPS program, Choosing Healthy Activities and Methods Promoting Safety, which works with fifth-graders throughout the school year and this year will hold four one-week summer camp sessions to help students make good decisions for their lives. The camps are for fourthgraders going into fifth grade the next school year. Get more information from the sheriff’s office non-emergency line, 770-359-5159, or school resource officer Sgt. Adam Rowell at Lamar elementary, 770-358-5556. GREAT – Gang Resistance Education and Training – is a BPD program that ‘is intended as an immunization against delinquency, youth violence and gang membership, serving children in the years immediately before the prime ages for introduction into gangs and delinquent behavior.’ The Barnesville Youth Council is being revived by BPD, designed to assist high school students in achieving life and career goals. Anyone interested in being a part of the GREAT program or council can call Penamon at 678-972-2724. Anonymous (do not have to give your name) ways of reporting crimes or suspected gang activities: BPD’s 770-358-1234 phone line and the LCSO tip line 770-358-8881, or email tips@lamarcountysheriff. com. Community opportunities: Lamar Arts sponsors two one-week Kids Arts Camp sessions each year at the Depot Gallery. For information call Lauren Hooks at 229-669-0777, or leave a message at the Depot number, 770-358-5888. Speakers are available for local organizations, clubs or church groups, including Lt. Maggie Moreland, Penamon, Sgt. Jerry Meadows and Maj. Leslie Holmes of LCSO and others. Maj. Timothy Milton of the GPSTC in Forsyth, speaker for the recent community meeting, also said he is available for public speaking on the subject of gang recognition and prevention. Participation with law enforcement in projects like painting over gang messages on walls and other public areas; removing shoes from power lines (a sign of which gang ‘˜owns’ the neighborhood) and reporting, anonymously if necessary, events out of the ordinary to law enforcement. Several after-school programs, including the 21st Century project for middle schoolers, offer help with academics and life choices. Boys to Men, a non-profit organization seeking to help young males with life skills and making good decisions, is looking for help to reach the target audience and offer sessions appropriate to age groups. Michael Rogers’ Email The Lamar County Recreation Department offers athletic activities in each sports season for various age groups. At this time the recreation sports program is engaged in soccer and baseball, said director Buddy Lanier, but will be registering in July for football and soccer in the fall. Ages for fall games would include 3-4-yearold flag football, up to 11-12-year-olds. Parent involvement is key in any plan to help children become good citizens, Lanier added. Registration dates are posted and published; for more information call the Recreation Department office at 770-358-5800. The office is located at the main park on Gordon Road and is open 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays. At the close of the community meeting, Maj. Leslie Holmes thanked the audience and encouraged each person to become involved in helping youth stay out of gangs and stopping gang crime in our community. She said, ‘We can’t keep having meetings, seeing a handful of people working on it, and then having another meeting and another meeting. We’re not accomplishing anything that way. We have to come together as a community, all of us, to make a difference – to be the village that helps raise our children.’

Be First to Comment

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Website by - Copyright 2021