Gang Unit, Tipping Point, team up to prevent gang activity

Posted By: Bayley Bischof Channel 8 Eyewitness News 

As far as gang activity goes, Sergeant Jeff Sorenson with Lincoln Police said the capitol city is in a pretty good spot.

"But is it an issue we need to pay attention to and address, not only as law enforcement, but as a community,” Sorenson said.

Which is why LPD’s Gang Unit was at Calvert Elementary school Friday afternoon, doing what they can to prevent youth from joining gangs.

It’s called Operation Tipping Point.

Matthew Baker, with LPD, runs the program and he said keeping kids out of gangs is about helping them reach their full potential.

"You never hear of someone 35–years–old who says ‘Oh man, I’m really glad I joined that gang,’ Baker said. “Gangs are final product to something that’s failed in their personal life."

So he wants to stop those failures from happening through daily mentorship and events like this one.

Part of that is building relationships with the police.

"It’s about relationships, and as we build them down the road we can have a better impact,” Sorenson said.

So with ping pong and sticker badges, they set the foundation for those relationships.

The students agree.

"It’s good because it gives kids a chance to see what police officers are really like,” said Jaicee Sabin, a fifth grader.

Fourth grader Emiya Strong said, "they’re sweet and funny."

"It felt really cool seeing them come out to the school and seeing them enjoy coming here to spend time with kids,” said fifth grader Brandon Taylor.

Baker mentors kids through Tipping Point from fourth grade all the way through high school based on referrals.

He also schedules special events like this, which is the second so far this year with more to come over the summer.