Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Gang Activity in Kootenai County - It's Here Now

Back on January 10, 2005, Whitecaps commended Kootenai County Sheriff Rocky Watson for his proactive decision to reassign two deputies from the drug task force so they could learn more about recognizing and suppressing illegal gang activity in Kootenai County. The Sheriff's action has proven necessary.

The December 9, 2005, Coeur d'Alene Press (print edition only - not posted on Press website) carried a story headlined "Gang activity increasing in Kootenai County" by staff writer Linda Ball. The story begins on page C1 and concludes on page C7. The story lead should cause civic leaders and citizens alike some real concern. It reads, "Gang activity is alive and well in Kootenai County." These are not just local groups of kids with too much time on their hands. We have many of the gang alliances from across the nation represented here according to the article. Make no mistake about it: Gangs are criminal enterprises, frequently violent, and not social clubs. A December 12, 2005, Los Angeles Times headlined Deputies Not Keeping Pace With L.A. Gangs emphasizes their propensity towards violence. Yes, we should be very concerned.

In an effort to make more information available to those who read this blog, I am linking to some previous posts about gangs and gang violence. Those posts include links to valuable and timely information that will help educate readers to better recognize and report gang activity. Here are the links:

May 5, 2005 - COPS Gang Toolkit

November 15, 2005 - Criminal Gangs - What We Need to Know

November 18, 2005 - Criminal Gangs Update

It is a serious mistake to think that law enforcement agencies alone can effectively suppress and control gang activity. They can't. Their effectiveness can be dramatically increased, however, if the community educates itself and then reports indicative activity. Timely, accurate information is one of the strongest weapons available to law enforcement wanting to suppress criminal gang activity. The community's role is to provide the raw information that law enforcement analysts can collate and evaluate and then disseminate as finished intelligence.

One final note. Several years ago Kootenai County had to deal with Richard Butler and the Aryan Nations. The Aryan Nations was a gang, but in terms of ruthlessness, criminal skills and sophistication, and propensity for violence, the Aryan Nations members were neanderthals in comparison to many of the members of today's criminal gang alliances. The Aryan Nations members were easily recognizable. That's also true of some but by no means all of the criminal gangs today. The stereotype gangsters that throw signs, wear colors and distinctive clothing, and tag buildings may be here, but so are those who can easily and comfortably afford to stay at the Coeur d'Alene Resort, wear designer clothes, drive Hummers and tricked-out dualie pickups, use computer technology to further their criminal enterprise, and buy public officials and public offices. To underestimate the potential threat to our area and residents posed by some of the gang alliances mentioned in today's Press will, not may, will prove to be a grievous mistake.


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