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LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A 35-year Police Department veteran was named Wednesday to lead a fight against the recent spate of bloody gang warfare that has sent Los Angeles' murder rate spiraling.

Capt. Michael Hillman, who most recently commanded the Los Angeles Police Department's air support division, was promoted to deputy chief and specifically charged with coordinating the department's fight against street gangs.

Hillman said he plans to adopt a citywide approach to combatting gangs.

``I hope we can do some good things relatively quickly,'' he said.

The city's 617 homicides through Dec. 2 represent an 11 percent increase over all of last year.

On Tuesday, Police Chief William Bratton said he would ask federal prosecutors to use anti-racketeering and tax evasion statutes against gang members, as federal authorities have done in targeting the mafia.