For all Virginians

Gillespie Statement on Advancement of Comstock Bill to Help Local Law Enforcement Combat Gang Violence

2017 Republican gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie today issued the following statement after the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee approved Congresswoman Barbara Comstock’s Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act. The legislation establishes a grant program that will appropriate $50 million annually to to state and local law enforcement agencies to combat gang activity in their communities.

“I applaud Congresswoman Comstock and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Goodlatte for acting to strengthen the ability of state and local law enforcement to combat gangs,” said Gillespie. “The first duty of government is to keep our people and our communities safe and secure. I urge Speaker Ryan to move forward on this critical legislation to ensure we finally rid Virginia of violent gangs, including MS-13. As governor, gang eradication will be a top priority for me and I look forward to continuing to partner with our federal lawmakers to protect Virginians across the Commonwealth.”

Background

Last Thursday, Gillespie, reiterated his commitment to combat gang violence in Virginia, pledging $1.5 million in funding for the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force. The announcement follows a Washington Post report that there are more than 2,000 gang members from 80 gangs located in Fairfax County alone, including a shocking 1:1 ratio between MS-13 and Fairfax County Police. The funding pledge builds on the detailed public safety plan Gillespie released in July.

Fox News reported last week, “Combating the barbaric MS-13 gang is no easy task in one wealthy Virginia county where the group’s membership is nearly equal to the number of cops trying to rein them in… In affluent Fairfax County, Va., there were nearly 1,500 members, according to a 2015 police intelligence report. The report said there were about 2,000 members representing 80 different gangs in the county, however, 70 percent of the members were affiliated with MS-13, a police spokesperson told the Washington Post. That means there were about 1,400 gang members affiliated with MS-13 in the county… Still, the number of Fairfax County police officers on the ground fighting MS-13 and other gangs is just slightly higher… According to the 2015 report, the county’s police department had 1,722 employees, of which about 1,240 are officers on patrol and part of the organized crime and gang units combined.” (Fox News, 10/25/17)

# # #