Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Unit revamp will boost anti-gang effort: chief

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THE recent realignment of two key Winnipeg police units that will now fall under the same internal division will boost the force's ability to bust up current street gangs and get a jump on emerging ones, Winnipeg's top cop believes.

A recent move putting the organized crime and street crimes units under the same organizational roof within the Winnipeg Police Service will allow officers to better share information, leading to better gang enforcement efforts, Chief Devon Clunis states in a recent report to the city's police board.

"It's imperative that our investigative projects and strategies for uniform street crime officers complement each other and align," Clunis wrote.

Putting the two units under the same internal division of the service "is more effective in gathering intelligence, developing informants and making deployment decisions around enforcement," said Clunis.

Officers hailed the recent crackdown on the drug operations of the Mad Cowz street gang in the West End and downtown areas as evidence of the benefits of the reorganization.

Project Recall netted the arrests of five adults and five teen boys for trafficking in crack cocaine.

Police undertook the months-long investigation after gleaning Mad Cowz drug-line cellphone numbers from informants then conducting controlled undercover purchases

The informants offered investigators a good look at the gang and how its drug operations had formed into several distinct drug cells in an effort to boost sales, federal prosecutors have said.

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 15, 2013 B7

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