Sgt. Magee, who asked that his first name not be used for safety reasons, has worked for the Reno Police Department for 26 years and with the RGU for more than seven years. Magee began working with the gang unit as an officer and has since been promoted to a supervisor.
Magee said the importance of the RGU, which covers all of Washoe County, is that it gives law enforcement the ability to focus on and investigate gang-related crimes with officers who are experts in the field.
“We act as a conduit to our partner agencies for prevention and intervention,” Magee added, explaining that the gang unit works with multiple organizations to provide activities and alternatives for gang-affiliated youth.
Magee said that he commonly sees 15- to 18-year-olds who are in gangs or associate with gang members. He said that the gang unit strives to prevent youth gang membership.
“We are the only agency that I know of that sends certified letters home informing parents that their child is being considered for being put in the gang intelligence file,” Magee said. “We get parents who say they didn’t know all the time.”
Magee said that the letter the RGU sends also includes information about intervention and prevention, and that officers also talk to the parents about their child’s involvement in gangs.
“The Regional Gang Unit is a group of men and women who are dedicated to their communities,” Magee said. “Not only do we investigate crimes but we provide information about prevention and education. The prevention and intervention part is huge to us.”
For the complete story on the RGU, read the July 26 issue of the Daily Sparks Tribune.