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Caldwell Police Department creates unit to combat street gangs in the Treasure Valley

The Caldwell Police Department is deploying a specialized unit to focus on gang activity and gang-related crimes.

CALDWELL, Idaho — The Caldwell Police Department announced Wednesday the launch of a new specialized unit that will primarily focus on gang activity and gang-related crimes.

The new unit is titled "Operation Safe Streets" or "OSS." According to Caldwell Police Department (CPD), the OSS officers will be responsible for the prevention and apprehension of offenders involved in gang-related crimes in the City of Caldwell, and throughout the greater Caldwell area and Canyon County.  

CPD said that officers assigned to OSS will collaborate with other law enforcement agencies in the region, as well as federal task force officers, to execute their responsibilities and enhance investigations.

OSS is technically the rebranded, reorganized and restructured version of the former Street Crimes Unit, which Caldwell Police Chief Rex Ingram disbanded because of a lack of patrol resources. TheStreet Crimes Unit was the focus of the FBI investigation into Caldwell PD officers and was formerly led by Joey Hoadley, who's been convicted and sentenced to prison for three federal felonies.

Caldwell PD spokeswoman Char Jackson said, "The mission remains the same but the leadership, focus, tactics and partnerships are different. We will be data-driven and be collaborating with federal partners, including the FBI."

The OSS unit will consist of one sergeant, one corporal, and three police officers. The team will report to a bureau lieutenant and captain.

Chief Ingram addressed criminals directly in a statement. "For anyone who identifies themselves as a gang member, associates themselves with gang members and chooses to break the rule of law, or otherwise believe that they need to 'put in work' at the direction of and or benefit of a criminal street gang, we will find you and bring you to justice."

"Idaho is not the place for you or your friends to seek refuge in terrorizing the community. Caldwell is not your "turf" and this is not a battlefield," Ingram continued.

CPD said that OSS will be ready for the "peak times" during the spring and summer months, and that the community can anticipate a heavier presence.

"Unfortunately, if you are a gang member, your beliefs do not align with the foundational principles of American freedom and democracy. Should you choose to continue committing gang crimes in our neighborhoods, schools, businesses, or in our beloved community, OSS will facilitate a peaceful transition for a future life in a state or federal correctional institution," said Rex Ingram.

"Our community deserves to feel safe and the creation of this unit will ensure that Caldwell remains a safe place for everyone to live, work and play."

"This is the United States of America, and we support the rule of law, which gives us the authority and responsibility to protect and defend each and every person who chooses to seek life, liberty, and pursue happiness here," said Ingram.

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