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Salisbury mayor appointed to gang task force

SALISBURY — Mayor Susan Kluttz has been appointed to serve on the newly formed N.C. Governor’s Gang Task Force.
The task force will work to develop a comprehensive plan to ensure a well-coordinated, statewide enforcement program, while increasing the flow of gang-related information among various law enforcement agencies, correctional institutions and the judicial system.
The mayor will serve until June 30, 2012.
“Your leadership and commitment are critical to this commission as a part of our efforts to strengthen our communities and improve the quality of life for our citizens,” Gov. Bev Perdue wrote to Kluttz.
Task force members will investigate and identify current and emerging gang issues and suggest policy changes to better prevent, mitigate and address gang activity. The task force will make recommendations to Perdue’s office and the state legislature.
The Governor’s Gang Task Force, established in October 2010, was created through North Carolina Executive Order No. 69. The task force is housed within the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, under the Division of the Governor’s Crime Commission. The commission will report its progress, findings and recommendations to Perdue at least every six months.
Kluttz was recommended for appointment due to her extensive work with gang prevention and positive youth intervention, according to a press release.
In 2007, Kluttz led residents to action following the death of a Salisbury teen, gunned-down in gang crossfire. More than 500 people attended youth summits and offered feedback and support to organize efforts for deterring local gang activity.
Kluttz also has served as a charter member of Project SAFE Neighborhoods Salisbury-Rowan for the past eight years.
In 2008, Kluttz co-chaired the Metropolitan Mayors’ Gang Task Force with Mayor Bill Bell of Durham and successfully lobbied for gang legislation. In August 2009, Kluttz and the Salisbury City Council hosted a statewide summit on public safety at the Salisbury Station on Depot Street.
Perdue and N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper attended the meeting, titled “Seamless Solutions to Urban Crime.” Kluttz presently co-chairs the Metropolitan Mayors’ Public Safety Committee and chairs the Gang Sub-committee for Mayors.
The initial meeting for the Perdue’s gang task force will take place Nov. 10 at the Governor’s Crime Commission Division in Raleigh.
“By working together to identify current and emerging gang issues, we can better prevent and tackle gang activity in both our local communities and across the state.” Kluttz said. “We must continue to stand united in a strong approach to deter gang violence.
“Our children are our future and they deserve to reach their full potential. We must strive to protect them from gang involvement at all costs.”
Salisbury Police Chief Rory Collins said Kluttz is committed to the safety of residents and the well-being of local youth.
“Her efforts to provide positive youth opportunities and to combat gang activity are paramount,” Collins said. “The mayor’s leadership and vast experience will greatly strengthen and support the vital work of the Governor’s Gang Task Force.”
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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