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Community Action Commission Welcomes South Coast’s New Gang Expert

Dr. Gus Frias says bringing together multiple jurisdictions will be key to addressing the gang problem

The South Coast has a new expert working to address the issue of gangs.

Dr. Gus Frias was hired by the Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County to coordinate the work of the South Coast Task Force on Youth Gangs, and he spoke after he was introduced at the group’s meeting Wednesday night.

Bringing together multiple jurisdictions on the South Coast will be the key in working on the gang problem, Frias told Noozhawk.

“When a child succeeds, it’s because of many people,” he said. “We have a lot of good people doing great work, and the goal is to bring them together to maximize our success.”

Frias will be relocating from Los Angeles, where he served as the coordinator of school safety programs for the Los Angeles County Office of Education.

His position is funded by contributions from Santa Barbara County, the City of Santa Barbara, the City of Goleta, the City of Carpinteria and the Community Action Commission.

Frias was light on specifics about dealing with gangs in Santa Barbara, but he said he’s looking forward to identifying best practices. With three alleged gang-related murders from 2010 making their way through the courts, Frias was asked what he would tell Santa Barbara residents as they move forward.

“As long as the heart beats, there is hope,” he said.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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