Business and community leaders, as well as school, church, city and law enforcement officials, will meet at 7 tonight in the community room at Rio Hondo Regional Library in the first of a series of brainstorming sessions to develop a gang diversion program.
Councilman William Molinari, who is organizing the meeting, said that although Montebello has a successful Drug Awareness Resistance Education (DARE) program at all the schools in the Montebello Unified school district, more is needed to ensure that children stay out of gangs.
"It seems every day we read about another shooting in the area," he said. "Though we don't have serious gang crime problems here, we can't sit back and expect that it will last forever. Sheriff's officials tell me that once a child has joined a gang it's almost impossible to get them out. We need to make sure they never get in."
Molinari said that by bringing a cross section of the community together, he hopes the city can come up with a sound, well-rounded gang diversion plan.