By Mary O’KEEFE
At today’s Glendale City Council meeting Glendale Police Chief Ron DePompa will be speaking on the subject of drugs, specifically heroin, in Crescenta Valley.
“Each area of the city has its own unique characteristic,” DePompa said. “But the area now has gang activity which is relatively new to the area.”
The gang DePompa will speak about is 211-C. He will be showing about 30 mug shots of the known gang members or associates who are La Crescenta and Montrose residents.
The gang known as 211-C is the local clique of the Magicians Club, which is based in Hollywood, police said. The local gang – 211-C – started out as a tagging crew a few years ago that has graduated from tagging to heroin sales, witness intimidation and side-arm robbery, DePompa said. “These are hardcore criminal types,” he added. Many of those members or associates of the local gang have been arrested on several counts from burglary to drug possession. Some are now in jail while others wait for a court appearance, DePompa said.
The chief wants residents and the city council to understand that the drug problem in Crescenta Valley is not one that will easily go away without proactive policing and community involvement.
“In Crescenta Valley the large gang presence illustrates the nature of the long term sustained drug issue,” he said.
One way the police have and will continue to fight the battle against drugs in the area is by its newly formed geographic patrol. The city is divided into areas where units of police patrol. The officers get to know the area and the people in a form of cop-on-the-beat neighborhood policing.
Proactive crime fighting units as well as strong community policing is the key to the police strategy in battling the drug issue said De Pompa.
Although heroin is a big problem in Crescenta Valley it is not the only drug issue the area faces.
“[Crescenta Valley provides] a gateway environment. There are a large number of 18 to 20-year-old [people] that have medical marijuana cards,” he said. “There are seven to eight medical marijuana dispensaries in a three mile stretch in Tujunga.”
On Tuesday, DePompa will also touch on the growing trend of prescription medications being used at “cabinet parties.” These are parties where individuals bring medication they get often from their family’s medicine cabinet. The pills are dumped into a bowl and the individuals grab and take whatever they want.
“For some reason kids in La Cresenta are very open to drugs,” he added.
DePompa does not want to frighten but inform about the drug issue in Crescenta Valley.
“I think there are efforts that are making a difference,” he said, adding that the newly formed CV Drug and Alcohol Prevention Coalition has been helpful in communicating the problem and involving the community.
“It gets back to this is a real emergency,” he said. “We take a very aggressive position on community policing.”
The chief is due to address the Glendale City Council today, Tuesday, after 6 p.m. on Charter Communications channel 6 or on ATT U-verse on channel 99/Government Access GTV6.