New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced a crackdown on violent gang MS-13, announcing that the state will be placing “gang prevention officers” in certain Suffolk County schools that have acted as “the breeding ground” for new gang members.
Speaking to a Long Island crowd, Cuomo reiterated the words of President Trump in denouncing the international crime syndicate, calling them “thugs.”
“They are thugs,” Cuomo said. “They are thugs that have to be stamped out.”
Cuomo went as far as to call the group “domestic terrorists,” and noted that school teachers are not equipped to deal with that level of violence. Police on school grounds will work with educators to identify potential gang activity as early as possible while interacting with students and the surrounding community in a preventative role.
Cuomo said the State Police would also be releasing a gang awareness curriculum.
“This will not stop on its own,” he said of the gang problem. “It will stop because we make it stop.”
An interagency task force on gang activity has already made 190 arrests this year.
The posting of troopers in some schools is the next step, Cuomo said.
“It’s back to school time and schools are where a lot of these gangs actually operate,” he said. “That’s where they recruit, that’s where they intimidate, that’s where they meet. And this is a problem that the school system does not deal with.”
Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-Suffolk County) is in full agreement with Cuomo and attended the event along with Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. The two have promised a legislative package to deal with rising gang activity.
“He’s laid down the gauntlet,” Flanagan said of Cuomo. “He’s setting the tone of what’s going to go down when we go back to Albany. We have an obligation to listen, to act, to partner with him and all our partners in local government.”
“I want MS-13 to know the pressure is not going to ease,” Cuomo said. “The pressure is going to grow. And the resources are going to grow and the intensity is going to grow.”
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