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Community Voices Confronting gangs in Lodi: Ralph Womack, Lodi Unified School District trustee

‘Gangs are actively recruiting our children as early as the fourth grade. Why? Gang leaders have a mission and strategy to recruit members.’

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Ralph Womack

Posted: Thursday, March 29, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 5:58 am, Thu May 31, 2012.

Before retiring from the Stockton Police Department in 2003, I had 32 years in law enforcement. In all those years, my most disturbing experience has always been the violence. I am currently program manager for Operation Peacekeeper, a City of Stockton youth gang/violence prevention program. The focus is youth ages 10-18, who often exhibit behaviors and attitudes that indicate they may be heading down a path of violence and/or gangs.

An early indicator is when normally good grades in school suddenly drop. If people want to see a decrease in gangs and violence, they have to realize first that criminal activity and violence are the main reasons gangs exist in the first place. Any effective prevention effort must include all three areas of a youth's life: the home, the street and school. We must connect the dots on all three areas 24/7.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Marilyn Dougherty posted at 12:55 pm on Wed, Apr 4, 2012.

    Proactive MOM Posts: 1

    I totally agree with you Mr. Womack. But, and there is a but, no matter what the parent does the child has to be humble enough to stop. I was very very very proactive, even having your group try to help me,and having principals and teachers involved, and more,but to no avail. I was so proactive that I would copy cell phone numbers down so I would have something to give the police if need be. And at times I did help the police. Children today are VERY SECRETIVE and do not let their families know any information. You can't be it out of them! My child would go and meet up with his friends and do things when we were at the store or else where.I've cried so many days and nights. He's now 19 and only now getting a fast food job, but still hangs around children who are a bad influence. I raised him around ALL UPBUILDING people , all the time when he was young. It was in the schools that he found and then chose such association. If I had to do it over again I would have never sent my child to school. I would have ONLY home schooled. The schools are like prisons full of bad association. Yes, there are good kids there, but the majority have got some pretty bad home lifes.!!!

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 2:23 pm on Thu, Mar 29, 2012.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    I think this letter is packed with helpful informative information. Mr Womack is refreshing.

    As far as the school budget, if administrative expenses include salaries and benefits of people employed in the school district, I understood that figure to be around 91%.... are there some official numbers out there?

    By the way... good to see your comment Bill!

  • Bill Stamos posted at 9:43 am on Thu, Mar 29, 2012.

    skilos Posts: 93

    I agree with Kim Parigoris and believe that the present administrative cost of 85% of the school budget is beyond excessive and should be trimmed to much lower levels. Am happy to have men like Ralph Womack in a leadership position and feel his plan should be implemented while the problem is still manageable.

  • Kim Parigoris posted at 6:22 am on Thu, Mar 29, 2012.

    Kim Parigoris Posts: 470

    The Stockton Operation Peacekeeper program sounds very good and it would be nice to start one in Lodi. I would rather see 132,000 go to a program like this, than hiring a chef for that amount of money for LUSD, which is an action that the School Board entertained the other night. If our school system (and our entire government system in this state) wasn't run by unions, we would have plenty of money for important and meaningful programs like this. 85% of school money is spent on administrative expenses and they want to raise my taxes with this irresponsible behavior?



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