Authorities from several states meet for gang conference

Authorities from several states meet for gang conference

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - To get rid of violence in the local communities, gang investigators at the 2016 South Carolina Gang Investigators Association Conference say they have to eliminate gangs.

It's one of the reasons hundreds participate in the conference; they want to educate themselves on what it takes to tackle gang activity in their communities.

"Sharing the information is really important," explained Hubert Harrell, director of the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy.

Harrell said he talks to many of the officers who are working the streets to hear what they need or would like to see done better to help them do their jobs effectively.

This week, investigators will talk about what they see in their communities, new gang trends and even how gang members use social media.

"You may know one thing in Columbia that they don't know in Myrtle Beach," Harrell said. "When these guys get to talking to each other they figure it out,"

Vincent Goggins, captain of the Midlands Gang Task Force, started the team made up of officers from all of the different agencies within Richland County.

He says the team found out working collectively was a better use of resources.

"To effectively work street gangs, you have to have that combination of law enforcement working together to achieve those goals," Goggins explained.

Goggins said he comes to this conference to talk to other officers about what they are doing and seeing on the streets they are working.

He would like to see task force teams all over South Carolina.

"My main focus is networking, to be able to get the word out, to talk with people about what we're doing and I visualize a task force in every major part of the state," said Goggins.

Tim Ayers, President of SCGIA, said the conference educates officers on how to better tackle a problem that affects every corner of the state.

"There is a serious enough gang problem in South Carolina that needs to be dealt with," said Ayers. "Every one of the gangs are involved in drugs, every one of them are involved with guns, every one of them are involved with the robberies. All of our violent crimes that we so desperately want to solve and stop having victims from, all of our gang members are involved in that."

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