LEADERSHIP FORUM TO DISCUSS COMMUNITY SAFETY-
On Friday, April 25th, DEA personnel from the San Francisco Field Division joined Congresspersons Barbara Lee and Elijah Cummings, and other elected officials at the African American Museum and Library in Oakland, California to discuss strategies to address violence and crime in the East San Francisco Bay area of California. Some of the elected officials in attendance included the Mayor of Berkeley, the Chief of the Oakland Police Department, and the Chief of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). Attendees included community members, community leaders, clergy, state government representatives, local government representatives, not-for-profit organizations, physicians, educators, youth, and media representatives. The event was covered by CSPAN.
Many strategies to address crime and violence were discussed. Strategies included, but were not limited to: after school programs, teen recreational centers, community policing, transitional and educational services for discharged jail detainees and prisoners, crime prevention research, community based intervention programs, and mentoring programs.
Residents also wanted economic empowerment, more social services, prevention programs, educational reform, and a greater dialogue with community youth.
The federal role in addressing the threat of crime and violence was also addressed. Some federal strategies discussed included increasing funding for employment programs, entrepreneurial endeavors, mental health programs, affordable housing, Head Start, and drug prevention programs.
There were several ways that community residents wanted the DEA to assist. These included more public awareness regarding the arrest and conviction of the sources of supply and drug distributors in the community. Another request from the community was an increased presence from the Demand Reduction Program to work with clergy and educators to enforce the anti-drug message for youth. Residents also wanted an aggressive campaign against crack, cocaine, Ecstasy, and other dangerous "club" drugs that are perceived to be the new biggest threat in the East Bay area.
Assistant SAC of the DEA San Francisco Field Division, Lawrence Mendosa, spoke about the need to work collaboratively with state and local law enforcement and community members. He also discussed the DEA's efforts to arrest the "high level" drug dealers in the East Bay community. In addition to presenting the enforcement side of the DEA, ASAC Mendosa addressed the Demand Reduction Program and presented ways in which the program can assist in educating youth about the perils of drugs. A representative from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) also presented about the ways the Department of Justice can assist through collaborating on enforcement activities in the East Bay.
Cummings stated his intention to address all of these issues with members
of Congress. The forum was recorded
be televised on CSPAN.