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Nick Perna

Gang Investigations

Nick Perna is a Detective Sergeant in charge of the Street Crime Suppression Team with the Redwood City Police Department in Northern California. He has spent much of his career as a gang and narcotics investigator. He is a member of a Multi-Jurisdictional SWAT Team since 2001 and is currently a Team Leader. He previously served as a paratrooper in the US Army and is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has a Master’s Degree from the University Of San Francisco.

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Statutes define gang crime as involving persons committing crimes for the benefit of the gang. But what if the crime is committed by a lone wolf?
Gangs use graffiti to mark their territory, mourn fallen members and challenge rival gangs
It would be shortsighted to think cops can’t learn a thing or two from gang members that we can apply when chasing them down
Gang investigators need to think globally, but act locally when handling gang cases with subsets
Like we learned in the academy, if it isn’t documented it didn’t happen
Whenever agents, detectives, and officers are brought together from local, state and federal agencies, there are inherent difficulties that need to be addressed from the beginning
Gather information about gang signs and symbols from as many sources as you can manage, but know that what something means someplace else may not hold true in your jurisdiction
Some victims and witnesses don’t have the best memories and may not operate at the highest cognitive level and they can get easily overwhelmed by the big pack of pictures that were handed to them
Like the tax rebate check you get as your reward for your labors at tax time, conversations with gang members can pay dividends