.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15) today introduced H.R. 2541, the Anti-Gang Task Force Act of 2009, to help local law enforcement communities fight the scourge of gang violence. The bill authorizes $20 million for each of the Fiscal Years 2009 through 2012 to establish new multi-jurisdictional anti-gang task forces, which will pool resources and expertise from a wide range of agencies at the federal, state, and local levels.

“Gangs are mobile and they often cross jurisdictional lines in order to facilitate the dealing of drugs or to avoid detection by local law enforcement authorities,” Congressman Dent said. “Providing funds so that different municipalities may, with federal assistance, better combine their resources to track, combat, and prosecute gang activity will make our communities safer and more efficient in fighting gang violence.”

Congressman Dent noted the success of a pilot program in his own district, a multi-jurisdictional approach that has proven effective in controlling the proliferation of gang activity and violence. The 15th Congressional District comprises a significant portion of the Route 222 Corridor Anti-Gang Initiative, situated across four Pennsylvania counties from Easton to Lancaster. The Corridor was one of six pilot programs initiated around the country by the U.S. Attorney General in 2007. This initiative complements and supports existing anti-gang initiatives funded through the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN).

The regional Task Force combines the efforts of state and local prosecutors with federal officials from the FBI, DEA, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE), DHS, and others. The Anti-Gang Task Force Act directs the Department of Justice to establish, staff, and fund similar task forces across the country.