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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Jackson Unveils Plan to Get the Guns -- and the Gangs

Posted By on Wed, Jan 9, 2008 at 1:57 PM

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Jackson cautions that his plan could lead to more shootouts and car chases. Somewhere, TV newscasters are rejoicing.
The front page of today's Plain Dealer carries a lengthy story about Mayor Frank Jackson’s new “assault on crime." Jackson's basic plan is to have police aggressively target people who are illegally carrying guns. Special teams of officers will be out on the streets "nearly every day" to confiscate guns, and will also go after gun dealers. The article warns that this might cause more chases and police shootouts with police, but that's apparently a price Jackson's willing to pay. Two important details are buried in the PD's story. First, the mayor is promising to restore the gang unit — which police have been mourning ever since former Mayor Jane Campbell slashed it in her 2004 budget cuts. If the unit gets a real staff of detectives, its revival could be wonderful, with more officers proactively rooting out gang-bangers rather than sitting back and waiting for firefights to start. Second, Jackson says Sergeant Guy Boles, who has been supervising the homicide unit, will be reassigned, and “replaced by someone with sensitivity to the families of homicide victims as well as a dedication to solving the crime.” Just a hunch, but this might have something to do with the breath-taking 134 homicides last year and the unit’s frustrating struggle to solve them. And as we reported in “The Killing Fields” back in September, families of victims have been unhappy with the response from the overworked detectives. It’s hard to say if a new boss will make much of a difference—unless more detectives are assigned to solving murders. For the sake of the those families, here’s hoping. -- Lisa Rab

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