Congressman Norm Dicks has been a fantastic leader for our region. We of the prevention and community safety world want to acknowledge him, as well.
In 1989, Dicks responded to the call of law enforcement leaders and Safe Streets to bring together federal agencies to organize efforts to reduce and prevent the extreme proliferation of gangs. With his leadership for criminal justice and prevention funding, residents were able to take back their neighborhoods, rid downtown Tacoma of street drug dealing and make schools safer.
In 2009, when gangs had re-emerged, Dicks sponsored a special appropriation to fund a gang prosecutor, law enforcement gang task forces and Safe Streets neighborhood organizing and in-school prevention programming to suppress, intervene upon and prevent illegal gang activity. Now gang leaders are serving lengthy sentences in prisons.
Neighborhood patrols of volunteers reported suspicious illegal activity to law enforcement and prevented property crimes and personal assaults. In many areas, crime was reduced by 24 percent.
Dicks heard us at the grass roots and helped us to continue to mobilize for positive change in Pierce County neighborhoods. We wish him the best for the next stage of his life with family and friends.
(Lisicich is executive director of the Safe Streets Campaign.)