In its first night back on the streets, the police department’s Youth Violence and Street Crimes task force made its first arrest. The unit was reactivated Tuesday night, nearly six months after it was reluctantly disbanded by Police Chief Paul Porter for budget reasons.
In its first night back on the streets, the police department’s Youth Violence and Street Crimes task force made its first arrest.
The unit was reactivated Tuesday night, nearly six months after it was reluctantly disbanded by Police Chief Paul Porter for budget reasons.
“It was a high priority to get this up and running,” Porter said.
The first arrest by the revived unit was Henry C. Chubb-Rabb, 19, of 74 S. Main St., who was charged with intimidation of a witness Tuesday night.
Two officers are assigned to the unit, and another will be added Sunday, the chief said. Three officers who have transferred to Randolph from other units will fill the resulting vacancies on the patrol staff, he said.
The unit was formed last July after two murders of young men barely a week apart. Gang rivalries are believed to have played a role. Porter believes the unit played a crucial role in preventing further violence.
“I’m hoping it will make the same difference this summer,” Porter said.
Gang-related violence has continued to be a problem in the town, with the most serious incident a near-fatal stabbing of a 15-year-old boy during a fight between two gangs on Pine Avenue in February.
The two school resource officers, who assist the unit during the academic year, will become part of it during the summer, Porter said.
Part of the funding for the unit comes from a $120,175 grant from the state Executive Office of Public Safety, which goes toward the salaries of two police officers. State Sen. Brian A. Joyce, D-Milton, lobbied Gov. Deval Patrick to get the town considered for the grant.
On Wednesday, Porter signed a mutual aid agreement with Boston police. Members of both departments had long been sharing information on an informal basis.
“This is so we can ride with them and they can ride with us,” Porter said. “It allows the sharing of intelligence.”
Some members of Boston-based gangs live in Randolph, and others operate in the town, Porter has said.
Porter is also working with a group of community representatives that calls itself the “Steering Committee,” which hopes to develop a violence prevention plan for the town and its neighborhoods. The group, which been meeting on a regular basis since last fall, includes clergy, parents, school officials, representatives of youth service agencies, court personnel and business leaders.
Jeannette Travaline, the committee’s secretary, said the group is trying to identify resources, effective programs and other potential solutions to youth violence.
It will also look into possible federal grants to combat neighborhood crimes and enhance recreational and educational opportunities for youngsters in Randolph.
“There are many people in Randolph who care about kids staying safe and having opportunities to not only survive but thrive in Randolph,” Travaline said.
“We as a committee will work together towards the goal of ensuring that every young person in Randolph has that opportunity.”
Patriot Ledger writer Fred Hanson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.