Former Gary deputy police chief will help county fight gangs
by Lori Caldwell firstname.lastname@example.org|648-3258 August 17, 2012 5:24PM
Updated: September 19, 2012 6:07AM
CROWN POINT — Former Gary Police Deputy Chief Thomas Branson will return to his law enforcement roots later this month in a job designed to use his street-wise skills
“This is the perfect fit,” Lake County Sheriff John Buncich said Friday afternoon.
His department received a $74,570 grant from Geminus Head Start of Merrillville to implement an intervention and prevention program aimed at young people exposed to the lure of gang activity.
Branson, who retired from the Gary Police Department in 2008, will serve as director of the program beginning Aug. 27.
His office will be adjacent to the county’s gang intelligence unit, and he will report directly to Buncich, the sheriff said.
The program will be modeled after Chicago-based CeaseFire. Branson and other team members will be meeting with CeaseFire representatives later.
Branson’s focus will be primarily urban areas, the “hotbed” of gang violence in Northwest Indiana.
Branson was a Gary officer for almost 30 years, spending the bulk of his time as an investigator.
His ability to develop ongoing communication with street-level sources -- even those he’s arrested -- is legendary.
“Who better to do this job than someone who is experienced and knowledgeable?” Buncich said.