US Justice Dept. Warns Law Enforcement: Street Gangs Actively Targeting Officers

After recent officer-involved shootings, gangs are mobilizing, says the agency.

The bulletin was issued on July 15, just two days before the ambush of police and sheriffs deputies in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Sunday.

ABC News law enforcement contributor Steve Gomez, who worked gangs in South-Central Los Angeles first as an LAPD cop and then as an FBI agent, said the bulletin and the threats it details mark a return to the nightmare of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

"If the movement to target and assassinate cops expands past lone wolves (as we have thus far seen in Dallas, Baton Rouge, and other cities), and mobilizes violent gang members nationwide," Gomez said, "the effect could be overwhelming."

In response to the killings of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, many police departments around the nation ordered heightened security for police facilities and directed that cops patrol only in pairs. In Los Angeles, where police already patrol in pairs, chief Charlie Beck on Sunday went even farther by ordering the specialty Metro Division to serve as on-site security for patrol cars responding to calls and directing the LAPD's force of helicopters to monitor black-and-whites and search for possible snipers.