As gang killings persist, feds grant $500k to help DeKalb

DeKalb police work the scene of a reportedly gang-related shooting that killed a teen girl in August. JOHN SPINK /JSPINK@AJC.COM

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DeKalb police work the scene of a reportedly gang-related shooting that killed a teen girl in August. JOHN SPINK /JSPINK@AJC.COM

The U.S. Department of Justice is granting nearly $500,000 to combat gang violence in DeKalb County, the agency announced Wednesday.

The funds are headed for the DeKalb Project Safe Neighborhoods Task Force, which is coordinated by the Atlanta U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The task force is populated by officers from the DeKalb, Brookhaven and Chamblee police departments. In conjunction with the DeKalb District Attorney’s Office, training will be conducted for officers on gang recognition and on “best practices for compiling evidence for successful gang prosecutions,” according to a news release.

Also, Rehoboth Baptist Church in Tucker plans to join the initiative by providing training to local youth.

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Efforts of the task force will be guided by data collected by members and examined by Applied Research Services, Inc., a national consulting firm based in Atlanta.

"Gang violence and gun crime are two of the most formidable obstacles we face in ensuring that every American lives in safe and secure communities," said U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch. "These vital grants give jurisdictions the resources they need to develop comprehensive, collaborative responses to the most serious and destructive crimes."