How they can come back and make a difference.
Kevin Mickens once trolled the streets of Denver's Five Points area plying crack cocaine as a member of the Rolling 30's gang.
Back then, they knew him as Big Duji, the Devil's Helper.
Now he carries a Bible and talks of God. He's Pastor Kevin.
As the city of Denver grapples with a growing perception that gang violence is killing too many, city officials increasingly are turning to those like Mickens and their churches for help.
In mid-July, a private meeting was held between key city officials and up to 60 church leaders in an attempt to craft a coordinated strategy. That meeting, attended by Denver City Council President Michael Hancock and Safety Manager Al LaCabe, the top city official overseeing the city's police department, produced a renewed emphasis on street intervention.
"I think it's time for all the churches to get together and do some big things," said Butch Montoya, the city's former safety manager, who is helping coordinate the initiative. "The need is greater for the churches to step up than it's ever been."
As former gang members have aligned themselves with inner city churches, those like Mickens are now considered the city's secret weapon in its fight against gangs. City officials hope they can help stop incidents like the New Year's Day slaying of Denver Broncos player Darrent Williams, killed in a flurry of bullets that came from a sport utility vehicle registered to a known gang leader.
New ideas are proliferating as pastors start to speak out against gangs from their pulpits.
The Denver Post