Of nearly twenty thousand state and local law enforcement agencies contacted by the Justice department, regarding the National Gang Threat Assessment
report, fewer than five hundred have responded to the request for information, according to Jack Wood, a contractor for the Justice Department. The
refusal to comply will render the Justice Department's report inaccurate. So far, no official response has been issued by the Justice Department.
A recent Justice Department report on the threat posed by gangs underestimated the number of gang members nationwide because thousands of police
agencies refused to provide information about their jurisdictions.
The surprising lack of cooperation by police agencies means the Justice Department's estimate of more than 700,000 gang members nationwide could be
too low by at least 200,000, said Patrick Word, vice chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Gang Investigators Network, a group that helps collect data
for the Justice Department.
Nearly 20,000 state and local police agencies were contacted to participate in the National Gang Threat Assessment report, but only 455 provided
information, said a federal law enforcement official who asked not to be identified to avoid future conflicts with local police in obtaining
information. The report did not specify which agencies did not participate, so they could not be contacted for comment.
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This is very strange. The police and related agencies apparently have reservations about revealing information to the Federal authorities, regarding
gang activity. There are probably endless reasons why this could be the case, but I'm leaning towards two in particular, either general distrust of
the feds on the part of the local agencies, or a coordinated attempt on the part of the LEAs to maintain their job description and keep the feds from
taking over their jurisdiction for gang crimes. Nobody likes being irrelevant, yaknow?
One gentleman quoted in the source article thinks that the agencies are refusing to report because they don't want to start a panic, but I'm not sure
I buy that, it seems a bit illogical.
Could this represent a widening of the rift between the state/local agencies and the feds? This news has struck a chord with me, I wonder if I'm
taking it out of context, but this seems to be a fairly serious development for the worse in the realm of state-federal relations. In any case, a
developing situation to keep an eye on.