I started doing gang research in the autumn of 1962 and have now been at it, off and on, for some thirty years. Starting in total ignorance, I have accumulated enough exposure, knowledge, frustration, anger, and recovery to attempt to write a book that might help move the field a bit. The journey has been guided at various points by friends and colleagues. All of the former have been sources of knowledge and support; of the latter, some have been supportive, and some have provided the opposition needed to focus and sharpen my views. I need to acknowledge the good guys and the others, explicitly.
LaMar Empey, eminent criminologist, guiltless big game hunter, and occasional role model has probably done more to mold my career than any other professional. I like the mold, and readers of this volume will unknowingly be affected by it.
Cheryl Maxson, my gang research colleague over the past dozen years, has become my methodological superego and conceptual partner. Little that I say in this book is mine alone, but she would find nicer ways to say it. So would Lea Cunningham, our long-suffering and absolutely invaluable field supervisor.
Elaine Corry is one of the most amazing people I've ever known. Friend, colleague, administrator, tolerator of all sorts of human frailty in others, she has been for me and all the others in our research institute our most indispensable resource. She talks now about retirement; if she does it, we may all fall apart like the one-hoss shay.
In the world of gangs and cops, one man has done more, and more willingly, than any other to provide access to the world of the gang cop. Sergeant Wesley McBride of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department ( LASD) started his gang intelligence work back in the early 1970s. He's still at it, having become the most reasoned and knowledgeable gang cop I know. My acknowledgment of his help should be taken, as well, as recognition of the nondefensive, administratively open stance taken by the Sheriff's Department toward my many intrusions into their world.