ATLANTA - Gangs were the topic of discussion at the Joint House and Senate Public Safety and Homeland Security meeting Monday afternoon.
“Criminal street gangs is the number one issue facing law enforcement," Reynolds said.
A recent Georgia Bureau of Investigation survey of more than 500 sheriffs and police departments found the number one issue the agencies face are criminal street gangs.
Governor Brian Kemp established a task force last year to crack down on gang activity throughout the state.
Since then, Reynolds says the GBI has trained law enforcement across the state on how to deal with gangs and has trained state and federal prosecutors on gang prosecution laws.
The efforts, however, have not curbed the violence.
The GBI said gangs are responsible for an average of about half of the violent crime in communities.
“They’re quick to resort to violence against law enforcement. I’ve personally prosecuted several cases where they were perpetrators of violence against my law enforcement folks in Cobb," Reynolds said.
Reynolds added this isn't a crisis that will disappear with just the work of law enforcement. He said the work should start before these gang members are on their radar.
"It has to be a joint effort by communities, by churches, by schools, by everyone else to make sure these young kids- 13, 14, 12 sometimes have a different option other than this option. Because the truth is by the time it gets to us, by the time the GBI gets involved...we've just about missed the boat," Reynolds said.