Churches in the Selma area may soon be on the front lines to combat gang violence. District Attorney Michael Jackson is launching a program he calls "Adopt-a-Gang Member." He says the idea is to help gang members feel more worthwhile by getting them involved in churches. Jackson held a summit in Selma recently with about 50 pastors to explain the program.
Gang violence is a persistent problem in Selma and surrounding Dallas County. There were 16 shootings in the city in just one month last year, and many of those were blamed on gangs. Last March, Selma Police Chief Spencer Collier announced the arrests of a group of alleged gang members in a string of shootings into homes and cars. The same group is accused of opening fire on a Selma police officer who tried to pull them over.
Jackson said he was in bed half asleep a couple of weeks ago when the idea of "Adopt-A-Gang Member" came to him. The DA says all of the churches know who their members are who are in gangs. He said the idea is to try to draw those men into activities at the church rather than the streets.