As gang task force begins in Danville, youth task force still being planned

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DANVILLE (WSLS 10) - With the first gang task force meeting in the books in Danville, the focus now turns to getting the youth task force established and making sure the two task forces are working together.

Once it gets set up, Deputy City Manager Earl Reynolds, who will oversee the task force, said the plan is to have a lot of communication with the gang task force.

"Joint meetings are a real possibility," Reynolds said. "Also, sharing from one group to another in terms of meeting minutes, as well as having a section in each meeting to let one group know what occurred with the other."

Cracking down on gangs is a major component of Danville's plan to reduce violence in the city.

A major part of cracking down on gangs is giving kids positive alternatives to gang activity.

Reynolds hopes now that the gang task force is up and running, the youth task force will soon follow so those alternatives can start getting created.

"Timing is key to everything. We want to make sure the youth services task force doesn't lag too far behind," Reynolds said.

As of Thursday, the parks and rec department, social services and Danville Public Schools were set to be part of the taskforce.

Invitations had been sent to at least eight other agencies such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and the YMCA, but invitations were still being sent out.

"We want to be as inclusive as possible, get as many people around the table who are working with young people," Reynolds said.

Parks and Rec Director Bill Sgrinia said because as of Thursday nothing was set in stone yet, the department hadn't begun to prepare for the first meeting, but he is looking forward to it.

"My assumption is the youth task force is going to look at all things related to youth in the city; opportunities for education, opportunities for recreation, what they're doing in their spare time, what they're doing in school, out of school," Sgrinia explained.

Reynolds hoped to hold the first youth task force meeting by the end of February.

He also emphasized that the task force is open to any organization that wants to join.

Interested organizations that do not receive an invitation can contact the city manager's office at 434-799-5100.

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