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Gang workshop held to inform RCS

By Staff
Melissa Cason
Faculty and staff in the Russellville City School System attended a presentation on gang identification Monday.
Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing and special guest, Sgt. Eddie Morrissette with the Hoover Police Department, talked to the group about what to look for in identifying a gang, and the warning signs of gang activity.
Morrisette works in the Major Crimes Division in Hoover, and works cases such as murders, robberies, rapes, and assaults. The unit also investigates crimes believed to be gang related.
The presentation informed the educator how to identify gang activity including clothing, music, colors, and body markings and piercing.
"We want schools to know what to look for, and understand exactly what gangs are, and the crimes that are gang related," Rushing said.
Rushing said the gang problem has not yet reached the county, but gangs are a growing trend and are expected to become more prominent in North Alabama over the next decade.
"I don't think there is a problem here other than graffiti here and there," Rushing said. "This program was to be informative so that hopefully we won't have to take a more preventive approach to the gang topic."
Rushing said there was one incident in the county last year where participants claimed gang affiliation, but others involved said the incident was not gang related.
"There are no other incidents in Franklin County that I am aware of that are gang related," Rushing said.
Russellville Police Chief Chris Hargett said there has been no crimes in the city investigators can link to gang activity.
Rushing hopes to bring a similar presentation to the county schools so they will be able to identify gangs should any problems surface.
Rushing isn't the only county agency working to educate the public about gang activity. The Franklin County DARE program added gang education to the curriculum last year in order to educate students about the dangers of gang activity before they can be approached to join.

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