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Richard Valdemar

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Sgt. Richard Valdemar retired from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after spending most of his 33 years on the job combating gangs.

Evaluating Gang Training for Officers

Who's teaching your gang classes?

October 18, 2010  |  by Richard Valdemar - Also by this author

Revisionist Gang History

Some gang-school instructors have an ax to grind. They have a political agenda. America haters are going to tell you that racial bigotry and intolerance are responsible for gang violence. It's American society's fault, and poverty or the police are at fault. They'll tell you gangs are just young men and women passing through rites of passage, or protective groups reacting to bullies and unfair pressures from society and religion.

They'll tell you the CIA pushed crack in the neighborhoods to fund the Contras in Nicaragua; that's why kids join gangs. These gang experts want it to be America's fault — don't confuse them with facts. Often influenced by their college professors with left-leaning views, these sources pontificate on the subject from the viewpoint of social science academia without any real world experience. If they ever met a real hardcore gang member in the field, they would run.

Training on the Internet

There is a plethora of websites and blogs available on the internet with reams of gang-training material. Remember to check the credentials of the source, before you accept the material as valid. Remember that this material is given free of charge, so its actual value may be worth exactly what you paid for it.

In Los Angeles, one of the most touted gang websites is written by a U.S.C. student whose gang expertise in the field comes primarily from the fact that he conducted a gang survey for one of his classes, documenting Los Angeles gangs through their graffiti. Later, he interviewed some gang members.

This source discounts law enforcement's versions of gang histories but lists as facts the fictitious versions from his own gang interviews. His interviews on Crips and Bloods occurred in the 1990s, several decades after these gangs formed. Real gang experts such as Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies Ken Bell and Curtis Jackson actually knew the Crip and Blood founders and wrote and taught law enforcement curriculum about the spawning of these gangs from real time experiences. Their original source documents are much more reliable than a Johnny-Come-Lately college student.

Mining for good gold gang information on the Internet actually requires some basic gang training so you are capable of sorting the good gold from the mountain of fool's gold. Even if you have to spend some of your own cash, get some good basic gang training as soon as you can.


Arizona Gang Investigators Association

California Gang Investigators Association

East Coast Gang Investigators Association

Midwest Gang Investigators Association

International Latino Gang Investigators Association

International Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Investigators Association

PMW Associates: This gang training is for prosecutors as well as gang officers. The next class is Nov. 8-10 in Dana Point, Calif.

Any training with retired NYPD Sgt. Lou Savelli or retired Sgt. Joe Sparks from Chicago as instructors.

The National Drug (and Gang) Intelligence Center is another good resource for gang-threat reports.

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