In a county already deploying many hundreds of police gang officers, scores of gang prosecutors and additional federal drug agents and firearms experts, can 22 more agents (that the FBI proposes to deploy to help) add a significant effect? Can federal agents from these several organizations apply conspiracy statutes and heavier federal sentences to enough gang members to make a real difference? Are these agents trained in the special nature of street-gang structures and values? Can these federal agents, usually convinced of close relationships between street gangs and drug distribution, learn to accept the demonstrated fact of only limited connections between drugs and street gangs?
The answer to all these questions, I fear, is no. The feds are too few and too inappropriate to serve our needs. Gangs are a by-product of troubled communities. The best answers still lie in community empowerment and restructuring.