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New leader hired for Santa Rosa's gang prevention program

  • Khaalid Muttaqi, former leader of Sacramento's gang prevention program, will take over as local program's leader

Unlike several previous hires, Santa Rosa has tapped a gang prevention manager who has experience with gang prevention.

City Manager Kathy Millison this week announced the appointment of Khaalid Muttaqi to lead the city's gang prevention efforts.

Muttaqi, 42, has headed Sacramento's gang prevention programs for three years. He said he is excited about the opportunity to lead a program with such strong community support.

“Compared to Sacramento, Santa Rosa is way more ahead of the curve,” Muttaqi said Friday. “Everyone gets it.”

The police chief, city manager, council and community all seem to understand the importance of having a “very proactive stance and approach” to tackling the problem of gang violence, he said.

Muttaqi, 42, who will lead the Mayor's Gang Prevention Task Force, is a father of three who has been a neighborhood resource coordinator in Sacramento for seven years. He has a degree in social welfare from UC Berkeley and a background in social work.

He starts Aug. 19. He will make a salary of $103,000.

Since launching its program in 2003, the city has struggled to find the right person to lead the effort.

In 2005 it hired Dawn Dolan, a university administrator from Michigan with no experience in gang prevention. She quit in 2006 after less than a year on the job.

She was replaced by Ernesto Olivares, a veteran Santa Rosa police lieutenant. He ran the program for two years before stepping down in 2008 to run for City Council.

The program's services manager Ellen Bailey then ran the department on an interim basis for a little over a year. She was named manager in 2010 and retired in 2011.

Then last year the city hired Bethany Facendini, a naturalist with the East Bay Regional Park District, whom city officials praised as an “exceptional fit” for the position. She quit after five months.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson tapped Muttaqi to lead the city's new gang prevention task force in 2010.

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