Police Department Awarded for Anti-Gang Efforts

Investigators Recognized for October’s “Operation Gator Roll”

Santa Barbara Police Department gang and narcotics investigators were awarded by a state law enforcement agency for their role in “Operation Gator Roll,” an anti-gang sweep that occurred last October in which more than 200 known or suspected Eastside gang members were arrested on a wide variety of state and federal charges. City police led the effort, which involved 400 officers from city, county, state, and federal agencies. At least nine of the individuals arrested face life sentences without possibility of parole; others face federal racketeering charges; many will be tried in Santa Barbara on state charges. “Gator Roll” was by far the biggest single law enforcement action undertaken in Santa Barbara County, and the city police were given the “Investigative Excellence Award” by the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training. Since Gator Roll, some detectives have speculated that the operation has left the larger Eastside gangs in relative disarray, prompting Westside gangs-which had fared poorly in confrontations with their cross-town rivals-to launch a series of attacks.

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