COLORADO SPRINGS- In 2016, then Colorado Springs Police Chief Pete Carey decided to eliminate the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) Gang Unit over staffing shortages.
Fast forward to 2019, the department has added dozens of officers in addition to leadership changes including Chief Vince Niski taking the post after Carey’s retirement.
Among the changes this year, CSPD is bringing back the once disbanded Gang Unit: complete with four detectives and one sergeant to lead the unit. The announcement comes as the department opened up its new location for the Sand Creek Substation, which is less than a mile from the previous building.
“We have lost contact with the gang members in town, we have lost the intelligence that we have,” said Scott Whittington, Commander of the Sand Creek Substation.
The news is welcome for groups such as a local ministry “Second Chance Through Faith”, located near the substation. The organization mentors at-risk kids and teens. Co-founder and Executive Director Lisa Medina says she’s seen an increase in some forms of violence and hopes the Gang Unit will be able to help out.
“I think there’s definitely been an increase and just a lot of bad behavior,” said Medina, “I’m just glad that they’re bringing it back, because I know that it will help.”
The new substation comes at a cost of $16.5 million. In addition the resurrection of the Gang Unit, the substation comes with additional holding cells, community meeting rooms, and spaces for people to have safe transactions if they’re doing shopping on sites such as Craigslist.