Beaverton's police chief is one of the leaders in a new Metropolitan Gang Task Force that begins operation Monday.

Chief David G. Bishop is chairman of the new task force's board of directors. He was selected by the board which includes representatives from police departments in Beaverton, Gresham, Hillsboro, Milwaukie, Portland, Vancouver, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, four district attorneys and the U.S. states attorney for Oregon.

Formation of the gang task force grew from meetings among local and federal law enforcement agencies to discuss gang-related issues. Combating gang-related violence is a priority of the federal Department of Justice under the Project Safe Neighborhoods gun violence reduction initiative.

The task force will work to detect and apprehend gang members and their leaders by gathering and sharing information and expertise among local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

Portland FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Jordan anticipates that the task force will establish links to cases of national interest and provide a conduit to coordinate gang-related intelligence nationwide through the National Gang Intelligence Center.

The task force also should identify and address violent street gangs attempting to establish themselves in the region.

Portland-area gang officers believe that to combat the gang problem effectively, officers must be able to track and investigate gangs in the four-county area.

'Gangs don't care about state lines or city limits; this Task Force erases the boundaries, so law enforcement can work together to reduce gang-related crime,' says Special Agent in Charge Kelvin N. Crenshaw, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Chief Bishop believes 'the Metropolitan Gang Task Force will improve coordination between local, state and federal agencies and allow the agencies to take the gangsters off the street.'

The Task Force will be housed at Portland Police Bureau's Northeast Precinct.

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