Deputies from the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department stopped by Albert Einstein Middle School for a gang symposium Thursday evening.
Their message? Curbing gang violence in Rosemont starts with parents of middle school students. During the presentation, deputies listed several ways parents could connect with young teens to keep them off the streets—and ultimately out of prison.
There was just one problem. Most of the 30 or so Rosemont residents in the audience were empty nesters with adult children.
"I don't have kids out here," said Larnell Gill, a Rosemont resident who said he's lived in the neighborhood for 33 years. "I would prefer a (presentation) more geared toward what I can do to report gang violence."
Deputies said they had hoped more parents would attend Thursday's presentation, which focused mostly on teaching parents about prison terms for gang-related crimes and how to talk to their kids about staying off the streets.
"I was pleased with the turnout, but would've liked to have seen more youth here," said Sgt. Mark Scott, supervisor for the sheriff department's Youth Services Unit that's tasked with reaching out to at-risk kids.
Scott, who grew up in Rosemont and graduated from Albert Einstein, said the department wants to test the unit's outreach programs in neighborhoods around Sacramento. The unit, part of the sheriff department's Impact division aimed at fighting gangs, is using Rosemont as a pilot area for two new programs for at-risk teens.
One of the programs, the Sheriff Activities League, kicked off a this spring. Deputies also created Girl's Circle, an 8 to 10 week mentoring group for at-risk teenage girls.
Scott said Rosemont residents reached out to the sheriff's department last year, asking for more programs to help curb gang violence in the neighborhood.
"Given all their limitations and everything right now, I think they saw this neighborhood had its act together," said Terry Dugan, vice-president of the Rosemont Community Association.