On Thursday, Governor Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp met with Gang Task Force Unit, Director Vic Reynolds during a briefing as he provided an update on the agency's efforts to dismantle gang violence across the state.
In the course of the briefing, Reynolds spoke about what the Gang Task Force has done over the past two years to keep Georgia communities safe as well as the next steps moving forward.
He outlined the success of GBI's partnership with state, local, and federal law enforcement, training and education that has been provided to assist on best practices under Georgia’s anti-gang laws, and how GBI is in the second phase of the gang database that assists law enforcement.
"The acknowledgment that we have a gang crisis in this state, and the subsequent conversation around the state that is taken place as the result of that acknowledgment, I believe is the most important thing that we have done in the last two years," Reynolds said.
Reynolds also touched on the fact that criminal street gangs influence all areas of crime, including violent crime, drug dealing, and sex trafficking. He mentioned that the GBI was involved in over 343 gang-related investigations between July 2019 - June 30 2020 involving over 70 street gangs including the Gangster Disciples, Bloods, Crips, Ghostface Gangsters, and Area Brotherhood.
According to a release, there have also been 541 gang-related investigations in 2021's fiscal year.
"Many of these investigations were assistance rendered to our local partners, allowing the GBI to be that force multipliers," Reynolds said.
Kemp explained that the partnership with state and local law enforcement is extremely important; using his union with Atlanta Police Chief Bryant as an example.
"I have a great partnership with Chief Bryant, especially going after street racing," Gov. Kemp said. "I am ready to stand shoulder to shoulder with any local law enforcement, personnel, or agency to go after gangs, violent crime, and street racing. We made a commitment to do that with the new legislation, and we want to do that."
Kemp said his administration is committed to supporting the GBI; making millions of funds available to push these issues.
"This work is more important today than when we first started talking about it on the campaign trail. The Gang Task Force has strengthen public safety, ending human trafficking, and supporting our local law enforcement," Gov. Kemp said.
The task force was created in metro Atlanta in the spring of 2019 after Kemp took office, as combating gangs had been a focus of his campaign messaging.