Parris’ group appears to have developed considerable political muscle. Less than a month after more than 3,000 local residents attended the group’s first public meeting at Lancaster Baptist Church, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has flooded the streets with out-of-town sheriff’s deputies in what officials say is an ongoing gang-suppression effort. Parris suggested the group is poised to flex that muscle in a push for courthouse funding. Norm Hickling, an aide to 5th District Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, said funding the courthouse’s completion is a priority. The courthouse is named after Antonovich, who was instrumental in lobbying for its construction. “Supervisor Antonovich recognizes that completion of the courts is absolutely essential,” Hickling said. Concerned about a surge in gang violence, a new grass-roots group is pushing for completion of the Antelope Valley Courthouse to help enhance the criminal justice system. R. Rex Parris, co-founder of Antelope Valley War on Gangs and Crime, said the group plans to lobby for money to add six courtrooms to the 15 currently in operation. “We have to get them finished immediately,” Parris said. “It’s not something that can wait. We’re still in `catch and release,’ and that has to stop.” The grass-roots group has appointed a courthouse committee, chaired by Parris’ daughter, Ashley – an attorney in her father’s firm – and plans to seek support from prosecutors, public defenders and law enforcement officials. “The supervisor is actively involved in looking at all options to get (the courtrooms) completed as soon as possible.” [email protected] (661) 267-7802160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!