Fighting Crime in Gainesville
"Violent crime is something that is facing every major city in the United States," G.P.D. Lt. Keith Kameg said.
That was the reason, Chief Norman Botsford placed him in-charge of a temporary unit, the Violent Crimes Task Force, last January. As of July 17, 2007, however, Kameg said that unit will be reestablished as the Tactical Impact Unit.
"People ask 'are you upset that you're not going to be the new commander?' No," Kameg said. "It's definitely been an honor, but this is just the best way it could move forward."
The permanent unit will have a new commander, Capt. Rick Hanna, who says the unit will for the most part, still be a proactive, quick-response force.
"The emphasis is going to remain pretty much the same, but we're choosing to call it the Tactical Impact Unit, because Violent Crimes Task Force gives the connotation of something that's short-term," Hanna explained.
The unit will consist of officers from each division in the police department, including Hanna, who heads the Operation Development and Strategy Division.
"One of the reasons for putting it under my span of control is that I'm also the crime analyst," Hanna said. "That whole function falls under our shop, and I think they'll have a much more broad support-base around them in a permanent capacity than they did as a temporary agency."
From 2005 to 2006, violent crimes increased by 2.9 percent in Florida and over 11 percent in Gainesville alone.
"Violent crime is traumatic not only for the victim but for the community," Hanna said. "And we're reflective of what their concerns are as well as ours, and it's the right thing to do."
Since February, the task force has been responsible for taking 25 guns off the street and making over 120 arrests; statistics that make Kameg proud as he prepares to pass the torch.
"I ran the unit, but the unit was successful because of the people in it."
By Ted Latiak, WCJB TV20 News.
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