St. George residents learned about the gang and drug problem in the area and how they can help during conference hosted by Impact of Southern Utah, an organization dedicated to helping drug addicts and gang members get out of that lifestyle and become productive members of society.
Police detective Heppler was one of several speakers who talked on the subject education and what parent and members of the community can do to help youth avoid becoming caught up in gangs and drugs. He said that with I-15 running through St. George there's a direct connection from Southern California. "I-15 is a drug corridor,"
Heppler said, "we're seeing drug trains like we've never seen before." He said to fight the gang issues there must be prevention and intervention. "The community needs to get involved - that's where the difference is made," he said. "We're not going to incarcerate ourselves out of this problem," Moss said.
St. George Police Lt. David Moss, commander of Washington County Task Force told conference participants that I-15 is a major corridor for drugs. The task force receives federal funds from High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, a subsidy of the Department of Justice, to help combat the problem. "There are only a couple areas in the state that have this funding and we're one of them because of our proximity to I-15," Moss said.
Impact of Southern, sponsor of the I-15 gang and drug conference Wednesday at the Dixie Convention Center brought together agencies from the cities in Nevada, Arizona and Utah. The purpose of the conference was an attempt to bring law enforcement agencies and prevention and health care specialists who deal with gangs, drug abuse and distribution.
Impact of Southern Utah is a faith-based non-profit organization utilizing innovative concepts for drug and gang intervention and treatment as well as community education and awareness.