Rep. Barletta, Sen. Yudichak to co-host gang awareness event

Feb 9, 2012
Press Release

HAZLETON – U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-11, and state Senator John Yudichak, D-14, announced the second in a series of community discussions to help combat increasing gang activity in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The two lawmakers are sponsoring “Combating Gang Activity in Our School Districts” at 6 p.m. on Thursday, February 23, in the Burke Auditorium of The McGowan School of Business at King’s College, 133 North River Street, Wilkes-Barre. The event is open to the public.

More than 180 people attended the first event in the series, which was held in June at the Penn State Hazleton Campus. It centered on what members of the community can do to help law enforcement battle gang activity.

“The first gang awareness seminar Senator Yudichak and I co-hosted featured a lot of useful information presented by national and regional experts. Once again, we’re bringing together federal and state resources to help the local community combat this dangerous problem,” Rep. Barletta said. “I hope local educators, parents, and students attend and participate because the future of our communities depends on spreading this information.”

“Education is one of the strongest weapons we have in the fight against the spread of gangs and drugs in our schools. The information covered during this event will help us protect ourselves, our children, and our communities as gangs try to extend their influence and disrupt our way of life,” Sen. Yudichak added.

The evening will feature a presentation from D. Darell Dones, supervisory special agent of the Behavioral Science Unit of the FBI and a nationally renowned gang expert. The presentation will be followed by a discussion with panelists David J. Tosh, director of secondary education, Wyoming Valley West School District; Brian Lavan, director of security, Wilkes-Barre Area School District; Robert Maguire, chairman, Lackawanna County Gang Task Force; Chief Larry Semenza, Old Forge Police Department; and Chief Leonard Mickavicz Jr., Taylor Police Department. The moderator for the discussion will be Andy Mehalshick of WBRE-TV.

The experts will share what has worked in other areas of country and what is working in our area. There will be time for audience members to ask questions and offer suggestions on what steps they can take in their community to help reduce gang activity. This series follows the release of a major study from the Department of Justice on the growing problem of gangs in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

For more information, contact Congressman Barletta’s office toll-free at 1-855-241-5144 or Senator Yudichak’s office at 570-883-4690.