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Anderson honored as gang investigator of the year

LaGrange Police gang investigator Jarrod Anderson was recently honored as the Western Regional Gang Investigator of the Year. Anderson was recognized at the Georgia Gang Investigator’s Association conference, where investigators from around the state went through case studies and received certification for becoming an intermediate gang investigator.

“It’s just an honor and a privilege,” Anderson said. “I am thankful for being nominated and for getting the award, but all in all, award or no award, I would just continue to try to just make a difference for the citizens of this community in regards to my duties.”

The Western Region of the Georgia Gang Investigators Association included investigators from 39 other counties. The Georgia Gang Investigators Association was founded in 1998 to confront the uprise of gang violence in the state. 

Anderson has served with the LPD for five and half years and will mark three years as a gang investigator in September. The gang investigation squad works under the Special Investigations Unit.

The LPD founded its gang squad in 2014, and the City of LaGrange has helped fund a gang prosecutor for the local district attorney’s office since 2016. Gang related crimes have dropped in LaGrange since, and the district attorney’s office has prosecuted a growing number of gang cases each year, according to previous LaGrange Daily News reports.

Anderson said while he thinks he has played a part in the decrease of gang related crime, it has been a collaborative effort between the police department and the district attorney’s office.

“It’s been a group effort, not only for our unit and our special investigation unit, from gang squad, drug squad, but from the patrol level, the criminal investigation section,” Anderson said. “The district attorney’s office as a whole has supported what we’ve done at the police department.”

Anderson said the gang investigator’s duties include working on shooting crimes and talking to individuals in gangs.

“A lot of times it’s just simple conversations. At the end of the day, individuals who are involved in criminal street gangs are people just like I am,” Anderson said. “I try to treat them with respect and things of that nature. But ultimately addressing quality of life issues here in the community is the number one goal.”

Anderson said they also speak to people in the community who are worried about what’s happening in their neighborhood and attend neighborhood watch meetings. Investigators also get feedback from the community of where problem areas are.

Anderson said one of the challenges of the job is how time consuming it can be.

“It takes a lot of attention to detail. Each case is independently evaluated, based on the evidence and what we have at the time, so each case is different and each one varies,” Anderson said.

He said one of his favorite things about working as a gang investigator is seeing justice served, whether it’s a former gang member going through the rehabilitation process or family members who lost someone to gang violence seeing justice through court. 

Outside of work, Anderson enjoys working out and playing sports. He said he is also on the LPD’s emergency services unit.