MOULTRIE — Prevention outreach coordinator, Marc Fomby of Pearl, Miss., met with officers at the Moultrie Police Department, on Thursday afternoon, to give them a brief summary of what he would be discussing with citizens at his Gang Awareness workshop that evening.

Fomby, who grew up in Detroit, Mich., and exposed to inner city gangs, worked 10 years as a police officer in Anniston, Ala., where he spent a significant amount of his off-duty time interacting with young people in his community.

He has traveled the country for the past several years conducting trainings and seminars on gangs and other prevention topics and has established a working relationship with previous gang members as a resource for his trainings.

Denise Bell, a member of the Moultrie Police Department Citizens Advisory Committee, introduced Fomby to the officers and told them that he had been a guest speaker in the community in the past.

“He has educated us on how to recognize things in the community,” she said.

Chief Frank Lang encouraged the officers to attend the workshop that Fomby would be giving that evening.

“I thought I knew everything until I went to one of these seminars,” said Lang.

Fomby told the officers about some of the prevention workshops that he facilitated and a little bit about his background.

He also told them that he would be providing some of the latest information on what was going on with gangs during his workshop.

“You can probably find out more about gangs on the computer than you can going out in the community,” he told them.

He said gangs would post pictures and videos on social networking sights including Zango, Bebo and YouTube. He said the gangs don’t think law enforcement checks these websites.

He also told them that some of the latest things the gangs were doing were “coding,” which was using the alphabet to create codes. They use these codes to write letters and in graffiti, he said.

“It’s not new, it’s just coming back... It started in prison,” Fomby said.

He demonstrated the officers some of the codes on a dry erase board. The officers seemed really engaged by this demonstration and asked questions and made comments throughout the presentation.

Fomby asked the group, “If they can come up with these elaborate codes, why don’t they do better in school?”

“There’s a disconnect somewhere,” he said.

Sgt. Tonero Bender, who also gave a workshop on Thursday evening, said, later, that there was still an active local gang task force, which was a collaboration of the Moultrie Police Department and the Colquitt County Sheriff’s Department and federal gang task force, which worked with law enforcement in area counties.

“As far as gang activity in the community and the schools, last year, it has been down,” he said.

He said that the gangs have been the same ones that have been around the past couple of years.

“No new groups have revealed themselves,” he said.

He also said that, in talking with Chief Lang, it seemed that crime in Moultrie was down.

However, Fomby said, nationwide, gang activity has increased but not within the “traditional” gangs like the Bloods and the Crips.

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