A last-minute infusion of money will allow the Minnesota Gang Strike Force to remain intact through another year after the Legislature grabbed most of its budget to help balance the state budget. Attorney General Mike Hatch announced that his office was providing $135,000 to help the strike force stay afloat. Created in 1997, the strike force brings together officers from across the state to work as one unit in fighting gang crime. What is the future of the strike force, and predicted summer gang activity in Minnesota? Ron Ryan, commander, Minnesota Gang Strike Force, discusses these questions.
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(00:00:06) And welcome to midday. I'm Mike Mulcahy sitting in today for Gary. Eichten. The Minnesota gang Strike Force is struggling to stay alive. The strike force was created in 1997. It brings police officers together from across the state to work as one unit in fighting gang crime this year the legislature cut its two-year budget from 3.7 million dollars to a hundred and forty thousand dollars since then Governor Tim pawlenty as the public safety commissioner to find more money for the unit attorney general Mike Hatch kicked in $135,000 and with some other money the strike force will have about a million dollars to keep operating this year. But next year is still a big question mark during this hour of. Midday. We're going to talk about the Minnesota gang Strikeforce. What does it do? How effective has it been? And will it stay in business? Most importantly, how big is the gang problem in the Twin Cities? And how big is it around? Minnesota Our Guest is the gang strike forces Statewide Commander Ron Ryan and you can join our conversation by calling six five. One two, two seven six thousand if you're listening in the Twin Cities 6512276 thousand if you're outside the metro area call us toll-free at 1-800-222-8477 Ryan. Thanks for being here (00:01:26) today. Good morning, Mike. Thank you for having me (00:01:28) this cut just seemed to come up at the last minute in the legislative session. What (00:01:34) happened? I'm not sure I know yet what happened May 18th. There was a conference committee and the senate in the house at about 3 o'clock in the morning the conference. They had five conferees from each House and Senate and for some reason unknown to me and totally surprising me they cut our 3.5 million dollars and basically they cut the amounts of money that goes back to the law enforcement end of the project. The only money's that were left were administrative Monies to run some computers and a couple clerical people. But other than that we were (00:02:19) decimated and so tell me how exactly the budget for the strike force Works. What do you spend that money (00:02:26) on? Well originally when we started out in 97 the legislature created us and it was set up so it would there would be reimbursement to local law enforcement agencies to put somebody towards the Minnesota game Strike Force in back in 97. I think we started out with about 65 70 people most of them were from local law enforcement some from BCA and some federal people, but the local people local law enforcement would get up to 75 percent reimbursement. For salary and benefits for any person that the like for example st. Paul or Minneapolis put towards the the Strikeforce and then in turn they would have to backfill. So St. Paul hired somewhere put somebody towards their they would get 75 percent reimbursement. They in turn would have to hire another person. It worked. Well, we've been taking Cuts all along it went from that 75% to couple of years ago. They were getting maybe 45 50 and this year. We took a cut last year of over a million dollars in a non funding year and we were going to get well this year well with the budget crisis we elected we being my oversight Council my 15 bosses elected not to do anything at the legislature asking more money, but we were just going to bite the bullet and now it was going to be maybe about 30 percent reimbursement for those. We'll still involved in at that point some agencies said they could no longer afford and they were already dropping out. Well, then this thing came along and we just we don't have any coppers period yeah, and you started talking about some things we're trying to do to keep the thing together until next legislature. And I know it's not a funding year, but I guess my my goal is to get along with the oversight Council has to keep it afloat hook or crook and then go back to the legislature and say okay in the light of day. Will you tell us it was this a good use of tax money? If you think it's not then fine, you know kill us but don't do it in the middle of the night without you no conferring with anybody else and right are taking any (00:04:52) testimony. I don't remember any of that and then just a couple more sort of procedural questions and then we'll talk about the the Picture I guess but how many officers now are on the strike force? You can give me an approximate we're (00:05:07) down considered. We have five regions throughout the state of Minnesota. We're probably down to about 45 45 50 people throughout the state most of them being in the metro area and probably about 30 in the metro area (00:05:25) and and they all come from various police departments around the state. (00:05:29) Absolutely and that's the unique thing and the good thing about it. We have a collaborative effort. We share information in each one of those people in their region is able to talk to, you know, several more people and it's it's worked great. We have Reams and reams of paper showing the things that we've you know that we've accomplished but you know now we're sitting just trying to stay afloat. (00:05:56) All right. Well, let's talk about the big picture gangs and in the It Minnesota, how bad is the gang problem? Is it getting worse? Is it getting better? How do you assess (00:06:06) it? Well, I think that our numbers are building when we were established in 97. Our main mission statement was to track and do something with the criminal activity caused by gangs. And one of the objectives was to set up not only an Intel system but a kind of a numbering system. So we have two methods of tracking games gangs, excuse me. One of them is strictly an Intel system that we use internally and we track about 9,000 gang members in the state of Minnesota. And I think that I just had a number here someplace that breaks out to about a hundred and fifty six gangs that have five or more people in it, but that's just our system. Then we go into the gang pointer file. And that's the thing that the BCA keeps track and the Gang pointer file is a list of all the confirmed convicted gang members in a state of Minnesota and we are at probably about 2600 and we're adding about 10 people a month that are confirmed convicted. So from the standpoint of are we getting more gang members? I think we are I think that we're seeing it probably a bigger percentage quicker in Greater Minnesota, but it's on a regular increase here. A lot of it has to do we have better methods of counting and keeping track but there's also a lot of people coming in from other parts of this United States on a regular basis. So we're kept busy (00:07:50) Ron Ryan is our guests during this hour of midday. If you want to join our conversation about gangs and Minnesota. Just how active are they? How big of a problem Is it and what is law enforcement doing about it? You can give us a call at six five. One two, two seven six thousand if you're listening in the Twin Cities 6512276 thousand. If you're outside the metro area call us toll-free 1-800 to four two two eight two eight one eight hundred two hundred twenty eight Twenty Eight. Now when you talk about, you know, maybe 9000 gang members in the state. I mean how many of these people are sort of the scary guys? We should really be worried about and how many are the sort of you know lower level kind of just hanging out, you know wannabes, whatever you want to call (00:08:39) them. It's a good question. I wish I had a good answer. I think if you have been just reading a newspaper in the last two months the numbers of violent shootings and in criminal activity that has taken place with gang members. We just had Taisha Edwards shooter was just convicted yesterday was this kid a violent person before this happened. I can't tell you that. I know that he I know that he was in the system originally we were set out we were the legislature sets us out to track the most criminal active gang members and it was a unique piece of legislation in that it actually says to Target. So we're actually going after somebody and we were to take off the leaders most active and one of the things I guess that has even surprised me for being in this business for 35 years. I always thought it was like a pyramid of We could take off the top of that thing and it would crumble. Well, it's more like a spider web and you go here and you cut that off and it just something else shoots up over here. And so they're all violent in my estimation. If anybody has taken the time to become involved with a gang they're violent people or the potential of being violent just in what we see in the last couple days with some of the Asian gang members that are they tend to be younger than the rest of the people we track but some of the most violent because they have guns they do drive-by shootings and they're shooting each other on a regular basis. I mean it I can't comprehend that thinking but guns are just part of their (00:10:30) life. Hmm. Well, let's go to the phones here and take some calls. Marie is on the line for Minneapolis. (00:10:37) Hello. Good morning (00:10:38) morning. (00:10:40) Teaching at Benjamin Banneker Middle School where Tyesha Edwards was a sixth grader and we have been struggling not only with the gang issues but our own budget Kirk, I'm wondering if mr. Ryan can give some examples of what we should be prepared for as the gang task force takes their own into into their organization. What should some of the teachers and some of the members of the community be prepared to deal with that we haven't had to deal with before. (00:11:12) Well, I and I understand that everybody. I think that Charley Weaver who is the chief of staff suggested in an article not too long ago that everybody's taking cuts. And even though we were doing good work. We also have to look at Cuts but it is it is tough times and I don't you know, when you look at what we do or in law enforcement. There's the prevention aspect the intervention and the enforcement and even though we are very involved. Our main focus is enforcement. So all those other areas those prevention areas and that I think go back to local police departments different whether it be a dare program or a gang Intervention Program for younger kids or just simply a reading program for at-risk kids in what we're all going to be relying on. First of all, I don't know that I guess I'm getting off the question little bit. We're going to cut back a lot. We did a lot of. Intervention sorts of things where we do saturation details in a high active area would say that the place over in Minneapolis or maybe even downtown st. Paul here where there's a lot of activity gang activity has been a lot of gunshots. We would go as a group with local police and just saturate the area and given X and pick out and identify gang members check for Watts pickups in really do a lot of that make us put us out there with our gang Strikeforce identifiers. Everybody knows we're in the neighborhood. We're going to be doing a lot less of that because and hopefully we'll get into it later what will have left but we are going to have much left and it's going to be a skeleton crew and I don't know I you know, I think that prevention people are going to have to look to volunteers people to come in and and do some things and I know there's some really Good volunteer people and again reading programs and I think things like that are so important not something that we are necessarily involved in but that's what we're going to have to be looking (00:13:27) at. Yeah, you kind of get the problem on the back end there, correct? All right, let's take another caller Chandra from Minneapolis (00:13:36) is of a quick question. I had a comment the quote first question. I can become it. Is this because I'm a 22 year old male who's Asian and considered as a gang member when I go out and hang out with my friends playing basketball and the question is what signifies or the definition of a quote a gang a gang member? (00:13:56) Okay. How do you how do you determine who is a gang member and who's just out playing basketball? (00:14:01) Well, first of all there let's remember and and there is no law against someone being a gang member you can you can be a gang member you can wear your colors you can as long as you're not involved in criminal activity. You don't get involved with us and I will tell you up front that are people we talked about the saturation thing. We do go to one of the things I'll point out soccer tournaments soccer tournaments are very big in the Hmong Community. They're very positive thing and it there's a lot of people involved with them but along with all the good people out there that negative element of that particular group gets involved and gang members tend to go where all the people are. And so if we know if somebody comes in with colors guess what we're going to we're going to stop we're going to talk to you because that's one of the approaches we use will ask you if you'd like to take your picture. You know, I like to have your picture taken will give you a copy and it's all things we do when we go out in a saturation type of a thing sometimes if you aren't a gang member you might Come offended but from my experiences. I don't think so. One of the missions that we had when we started out and it's written in our legislation is that we had to deal regularly with the council's of color black minnesotans, and I'm not going to get them. All right Native Americans Asian Pacific Pacific and some of the people that were probably most involved with the Asian Pacific people. They wanted more information. They want us to find out more more things. So we meet quarterly we share information and it's interesting. It wasn't a fun thing to begin with and I didn't like doing it because we had to explain to them. We aren't in business looking for a kid on the corner with his head screwed on Sideways and his pant leg rolled up. That's not what we're about where we're doing criminal activity. So, you know having said that if there is a kid whether I don't like the term wannabes because I don't have you ever figured out what that is. If there's a gang guy looks like a gang member we will approach them, you know in our saturation thing, but he and I like I said through my experience. I don't the good people aren't offended by this, you know, and if we make a mistake in in identify somebody wrong on the street will apologize and move on. I don't have that answer to Mance question, but (00:16:41) I think he is left us still so I can't can't ask Ron Ryan is our guest today. He's the Statewide commander of the Minnesota gang Strike Force if you want to join the conversation, I'll give you the numbers. Again 6512276 thousand to call if you're in the Twin Cities 6512276 thousand if you're outside the metro area, you can call us toll-free 1-800 to four two two eight two eight one eight hundred 242, 28 28 and speaking of outside. The metro area. Pete is on the line from Duluth. Hello Pete. Oh, go ahead. (00:17:15) Mr. Ryan, obviously, we have gangs lots of gangs in Duluth. And I know that there's a gang Strikeforce regional office here. And if our resources are sent back to their Department because it cuts is the remaining Strike Force officers from around the state or from the Metro. Are they going to be coming to Duluth from time to time to work on gang members or how will that work? (00:17:45) Right now I can't tell you exactly how we're going to do it. I yeah, I get the feeling that Chief Waller will stay involved what has happened. Now, we've come up with a thing. As a matter of fact, we were about to send it out and we're trying to it's not much of an enticement. We've come up with about $20,000 per agency who has someone involved with us and we will put that $20,000 to whatever they can do to keep somebody involved with this Duluth has a very that's one of our Region's the Northeast region. Chief wall are used to be a regional Commander up there. So I know he has an interest in a knowledge about what we do you are correct Duluth has from the when you look in the stand point of the city there gang problem gang member increases is increasing at a tremendous rate and you know, it all goes back. Some of the people have asked me why can't local police departments take care of business and when we were created local grid business or local police departments couldn't take care of business because he didn't have the time or the wherewithal and that's why one of the reasons we started up well now with the cut with the LGA funds local government Aid a lot of that goes back to law enforcement so law enforcement is already losing and I know that Duluth for example is losing a lot in LGA funds. Now if the ee lose with the Minnesota game Strike Force, I don't know we work together. We just did a up in Northeast. There was a prostitution drug gang. It was like a RICO thing. It's in the middle of I don't know if it's even been finished being charged. But the Duluth region guys are the Northeast region guys put it together. They were Gangster Disciples as I recall out of Chicago that we're bringing their business their entrepreneurship to Duluth and we together the metro area Duluth Central all three regions worked on this together. This will be harder to do we aren't going to leave people high and dry and that's one of the things that I tried to explain the day after we were cut as I was running around trying to talk to legislators figuring if they were still in session. We were still breathing. It didn't go very far but we we get we have stuff started and it's not this isn't a turnkey operation. We just don't write go out of business. So we have a lot left out there. We will try desperately because that's one of our another one of our mission statements to react promptly to any law enforcement agency in the state of Minnesota. So we will try to do that as much as (00:20:43) possible. Well, I don't I don't I want you to give all your secrets away, but what you know other than going out and doing these saturation patrols, I mean, what are the what are these officers doing when they're working with the gang Strikeforce, you know on a regular daily basis. What kind of work do you actually do? (00:20:58) Sure. It's and there's no secrets there. We do. A lot of surveillance. First of all, obviously, that's we have to set up probable cause so it comes from dealing with informants doing surveillance even maybe title three wiretap. They aren't on TV they look easy to do and in but they don't happen that often because it's a long-term. It's a very expensive difficult thing. It takes a lot of people these types of things where it's an ongoing investigative process with any project. We start out in one of the main things we get going right now in the metro area in Asian gangs is prostitution of young girls as young as 11 14 years of age Been a long term thing that's been going on officers have been working on this they finding out that it has gone out the metro and even starting to go up towards Northeast. I mean, it's things we work on talk to victims talked to Witnesses the basic day-to-day investigative techniques. You see on TV I guess but (00:22:07) slightly do and it's just time-consuming and labor-intensive and that's why the local departments can't do it on their own (00:22:13) absolutely. Sometimes if it's a you know, an investigation will take months to get to and when you have a crime committed for the benefit of gang you normally you're going after one person when you make a charge but crime committed for the benefit of the gang when those prosecutors come into court. They have to know everything about the game per se everything they're doing their their contacts. So that's it is very time intensive and and also, Investigative funds I mean it takes money to do some of these things right now, even if we keep going at the rate, we're going we have absolutely no investigative funds and that's what I'm not going to worry about that now till we keep going and then we'll cross that bridge when we get it to it yet to it. But (00:23:03) all right, Ron Ryan is our guest today. He's the Statewide commander of the Minnesota gang Strikeforce and we'll be back with more from Commander Ryan and more of your calls in just a minute programming is supported by Pentair a minnesota-based diversified manufacturing company offering investors positive cash flow expanding margins and prospects for strong growth. You can learn more online at Pantera.com And by Triple Espresso a highly caffeinated comedy called by the Sunday Times of London hilarious in irresistible variety show celebrating its seventh anniversary on the Minneapolis stage on the web at Triple (00:23:40) Espresso.com. (00:23:46) How's this for a management style? He wants people to fail. He (00:23:50) says if we're not failing a spectacular ways. You aren't thinking outside the box enough. You aren't imagining what could (00:23:57) be I'm David brancaccio the business of world-changing inventions plus the latest numbers from Wall Street later on Marketplace. And you can hear Marketplace at 6:30 tonight here on Minnesota Public Radio. It's 11:30. Now, let's check in with Greta Cunningham for an update of the latest news Greta. Thanks Mike. Good morning. There are two incidents of violence in the Middle East today a bus bombing in Israel has killed at least 15 people and injured dozens of people. The explosion went off during are afternoon Rush Hour on Jerusalem's main roadway. The bus was near Jerusalem's outdoor Market which militants have targeted in the past. The militant group Hamas has issued a statement stating. The bombing is a message to what it calls all the Zionist criminals that they are not safe and that Palestinian militants can reach them anywhere after the bombing and Israeli helicopter fired missiles at a car in Gaza City. It's the second such attack in two days Palestinian say the Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip has killed two senior Hamas militants and five other people yesterday Israeli helicopters fired missiles at a car carrying a Hamas leader who was wounded his bodyguard and a bystander were killed. Are you a senate panel is planning hearings into the intelligence information that was available before the war with Iraq. The head of the Senate intelligence committee says he's concerned about reports that some officials were pressured to skew their analysis. OPEC is going to keep oil production level steady for now. The cartels President says there will be another meeting next month to look at the impact of a racks return to the market in Regional news the fight between the DME Railroad and its opponents is in federal appeals court in st. Paul today attorneys for the City of Rochester Olmsted County the Mayo Clinic and others will argue against the railroads planned expansion. The railroad wants to upgrade at 600 Mile Line and extend it another 260 miles into Wyoming so it can ship coal to Eastern ports the forecast for Minnesota today calls for partly sunny skies. Statewide high temperatures will range from 65 to 75 degrees right now in Rochester is partly sunny and 61 Winona reports cloudy skies and 59. It's mostly sunny and Duluth and 64 sunshine. Momiji and 66 and in the Twin Cities partly sunny skies with a temperature of 64 Mike. That's a look at the latest news. Thanks Greta. You're listening to midday on Minnesota Public Radio. I'm Mike Mulcahy coming up at noon today. We'll be talking with us Senator Mark Dayton and he'll be taking your calls and questions as well. This hour we're talking with Ron Ryan the Statewide commander of the Minnesota gang Strike Force. That's the police agency that is designed to go after gangs and gang members facing kind of a some problems of its own now that the state legislature has given it a big budget cut. Let me give out the phone numbers again. If you're in the Twin Cities you want to join this conversation 6512276 thousand is the number to call six five one two, two seven six thousand. If you're outside the metro area call us toll-free at 1-800-321-8633 28 28, and the let's go right back to the phones. Christopher is a hanging on the line from Roseville. Go (00:27:04) ahead Commander Ryan those of us who travel sort of in the in the center city part of st. Paul Minneapolis and we'll remember 15 20 years ago young men and women virtually working the streets in the Phillips neighborhood Lake Street. And st. Paul. I guess it was probably the Frogtown area and that seems to have been totally cleaned up that area you if you drive through it now, you'd never know that it was a gang area. I guess that's your good work. Are they still in that area have they moved to the inner ring of suburbs? And if they're still killing each other what industries are they fighting over? (00:27:42) There's a lot of good comments and questions. I think not only our good work, but the local police departments and the different neighborhood groups. When you talk about the Philips neighborhood in Frogtown areas, correct? They have gotten, you know cleaned up they've gotten better. However, if you get over in areas of North Minneapolis at night, you know, there was a thing I wanted the TV stations last night and someone pointed out they were talking about the young man that was killed. I think that was in Brooklyn Park, but they were talking about the numbers of gunshots it go every night and it's almost become commonplace and unless somebody gets hit. It doesn't become newsworthy in most generally. It's gang-on-gang. These gang members aren't going out in targeting private citizens, but as you pointed out He had some problems with the Tyesha Edwards a perfect example. She had nothing to do with any of this and yet she was a victim and if you're just throwing shells around and bend and bullets around it's going to happen. Again. The industries are in the they come from we mentioned prostitution drugs is a drugs and gangs go the sale of Guns Guns has become a very big entrepreneur set up because there are so many gang members looking for guns. They can't buy the guns. So they have to have somebody that's legal to go buy the guns that you know, there's auto theft things where there's auto theft rings and how this gets to shooting each other. It's a hard push but a lot of these people are so into this gang thinking and is thug mentality that You know, you're going to disrespect me. I'll disrespect you LL shoot at you and it just it goes on and on. (00:29:50) All right, let's take another caller. I'm mehmood from st. Paul. Hello. Go ahead, please. (00:29:55) Hello. Thanks for taking my call Sir. Hmm. Hello Commander. I'd like to know what are the causes that can gangs are created and younger people are attracted to them. And what are the warning signs in families is that they should (00:30:10) look for them. That's a good question. I wished I was able to answer a real well, but what causes gains I mean you can go way back to the Irish Italian gangs immigrants they were coming over and they didn't fit in so they fit into their own neighborhoods in and pretty soon they ganged up and I think you see some of that to this day and it going to keep using as an example the Asian gangs, but they think that's a good example. However, I don't want to lose track most of these young people in the Asian gangs. They're American kids. They were they fall back on this thing of being immigrants, but they were all born most of them here. So they're American kids that have just taken on the the, you know, the gang mentality in their neighborhoods. What are the signs people start dressing in the colors of gangs drawing symbols of game And just this different type of thing where they were their kids all of a sudden are changing their, you know, they're they're disrespecting their parents or their you know their peers and they just all of a sudden have gone off with some different kind of people and again, it's easy for me to sit here and say that but it's tough stuff. I mean it's being a parent isn't easy and but those are the things that I would look for just the way they've changed they've become disrespectful. They've started wearing gang colors are drawing signs or these types of things. (00:31:48) Okay. Let's hear from another caller Wayne on the line from Park Rapids. Go ahead Wayne. (00:31:52) Hello. Hi. I was wondering with all the murder and Mayhem and so forth that the gangs cause in this country. Why can't they use the Homeland Security Act or the Patriot Act to prosecute the gang (00:32:04) members? I'm not sure I can tell you that I'm one of the things that I just suggested I have been suggesting hasn't gone very far. But with getting money we have spent that's one of the biggest money things going right now is Homeland Security and there's a ton of money coming into the states both federally and from State revenues for Homeland Security fighting terrorists. And that's always been our thing. We fight terrorists also for their Urban terrorist and to be flippant. There's only so many yellow suits you can buy but we could use some of that money and I think that that's a good idea that we would that you bring up Wayne that we could use some of those resources or look at these different laws, and I can't way into the law part because I'm not an (00:32:58) conversant right but maybe the feds feds could kick in some money somehow (00:33:03) maybe you know what I think there's that was one of the things that came out. When they cut us there were some legislators are called they felt badly and I understand me they were dealing with a budget of billions of dollars and we were 3 million, you know in a little kid that grew up in South st. Paul 3 million sounds like a lot of money, but when you're dealing with billions, I can see how we got lost somewhat but and one of the things they kept on saying is there's there's Federal money coming so I'm waiting. (00:33:36) Okay. We'll see you see about that. Haven't seen the check yet. All right, let's hear from Alex is on the line from st. (00:33:42) Paul. Hi, thanks for taking my call. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you know, I'm not a professional in this but I'm a pretty observant person and it seems to me that intuitively whenever I go to Mall of America. I see people that really they definitely look like gangsters very flashy very expensive stuff. They definitely look like gangsters and I have a strong intuition that some Gang members need to somehow have a present shown at Mall of America and wouldn't it be a cheap way to Garner a lot of information to be doing surveillance on Mall of America and the gang members that apparently need to show a presence there. I mean, it seems like kind of a stupid thing for them to be showing off and why not take advantage of these people who show off and flaunt, especially if you don't have a lot of money use a little intuition and you know where they're going to be use that intelligence. You don't have a lot of money and you know where they're at use that intelligence and look where that you know where they're at. Thank you very (00:34:45) much. Thanks, Alex. And you hit that pretty good the Mall of America. We do a lot with the Mall of America. They have a just a tremendous security staff out there. And and one of the another one of our mission statements was to work with peace officers and prosecutors and teach them or train them on tactics and techniques for investigating in identifying gang members. And we do regular training out at the Mall of America. Both are people from the AG's office our prosecutors and some people from Hennepin County and the Bloomington Police so we are aware and there's a lot the I mean they're they're systems out there grade we work with them. They obviously don't publicize everything they do because that's part of what makes us do positive things. If we aren't the only laying everything Telling all the secrets I guess but you know an interesting thing in its I don't know it from my perspective. It's a kind of a sad state in the society. Thug clothing is a big deal and when you get young kids, I have a just went to a birthday party of a youngster the other day and it's really neat kid shows up and he's dressed like a gang member and he has this Thug look about him and I commented and his mom promptly told me that's a fact of life that there is people that that's a whole line of clothing. It's they dressed like thugs. I don't get it. But that's a lot of what you're probably seeing also (00:36:27) 6512276 thousand the number to call if you're listening in the metro area and you want to talk about the gang problem with the commander of the Statewide gang Strikeforce Ron Ryan, if you're listening outside the Twin Cities one eight hundred two, four two two eight two eight. It's mostly is it mostly young men in this? Gangs how old do they get and and are there girls and gangs to (00:36:51) the different ages, you know, and you can go through we are a very diverse group. And as you go through looking at the ages of different and first of all, and one of the things I keep forgetting to mention these gangs exist, this is organized crime and we talk about what we see on the streets and he's young kids shooting at each other. But with all that happening there's somebody up above here someplace that's making money and that's why these games exist, you know, you can call the new mafia or whatever you want to call it. But and whatever Enterprises they're involved in whether it be guns drugs prostitution. Somebody is making money at this and if you break it down in age and again, these are just numbers. We have white gangs, for example, predominantly. They're just put some things in a paper. Hells Angels, they tend to be older some of the black gangs they leaders tend to be older. They're into their 40s 50s and as you're coming down the Spectrum the Hispanic gangs are in that mid-range Native American get a little bit younger Asian gangs 10 to be younger and they get to be the young kids and granted. I've said that and now you just going to say the the young man that was just did the shooting the other day or convicted of the shooting of Tyesha Edwards. I think you're 17, but he's like the soldier or whatever. He's out doing The Reckless things the shooting the curing of the dope and guns and what have you they tend to be younger the people that are older and making the money they've removed themselves from this from Harm's Way women in gangs girls and gangs. There is there are girls in gangs and there's only about if you look at our gang pointer file where we have the confirmed gang members. I told you we have about 2600 in there. Now only 2% of these members that are confirmed are female and quite often and again here comes my Prejudice but this is a perfect example of how we have what you know feminism fights against because these are used and abused women. They are there not only sex toys they are put out for prostitution. They carry the guns. They carry the the dope anything that they carry the clothing that somebody just did something illegal. They're the ones that carry the stuff because traditionally if the police show up the copper show up on a scene they will look right away to the mail and if the mail's got it And he's going to pass it off to the female because that person will get us it's just how we were brought up and they look she'll get the secondary look so I don't think they're revered in in high stature in gangs. I think they're used and abused and I have never understood that girls and gangs thing but they exist. (00:40:06) All right, let's take more calls here. Vicki is on the line for Minneapolis. (00:40:10) Thank you very much. I'd like to start off by saying that gangs from Asia actually started in the 1600s as a movement against the dynasties and continued from there and we call them Triads and the Triads moved to Taiwan when the Communists took over China and then moved to the United States as well with the drug trade. I just want to indicate that your work would be dramatically dramatically reduced if we were to take a look at the prohibitions that we have in society at this time. We have a Prohibition against prostitution if prostitution was legal. Localized and legalized and restricted to certain areas your job would be much more controlled as well as using public health people to provide the health Provisions. That would be put in place. Another aspect would be the drug trade. If we were to classify drugs in terms of soft and hard your job again would be made easier because you would be more restricted to the larger aspects of the organizations. And anytime we have problems as we have right now. They're due partly to what is prohibited and therefore available in an underground market and secondly when people cannot afford life and these days when we're going to be seeing dramatic changes as a result of money in the system, we're going to see a dramatic increase in all of that. So if you could respond to that, I'd appreciate it and I'll hang up and listen answer (00:41:45) sure in this. Be another three-hour debate obviously don't agree with you just the short end of the thing if we don't like something or something is illegal and it's not working out if we make all these things legal our problems will go away. I disagree vehemently. If you go to Stockholm Sweden and go to the red light district a lot of what you've just talked about exist there. You have legalized prostitution. You have legalized drugs, you have the dregs of society there and I or a Thailand where they put out young girls prostitution is a big deal over there. It's in that's not what I want. This is around Ryan talking that's not what I want for my Society, but that's the short of my answer I guess. (00:42:38) All right. Let's a lot of people waiting on the line here. Let's talk to Annette from Minneapolis. Hello. Annette. Go (00:42:45) ahead for taking my call. I haven't been listening very long, but I just wanted to say that I think it's not very popular in these days of criticizing liberals and liberal Solutions and whatever but I've worked in the schools for many years and I believe that prevention is where we have to put our resources in addition to to taking care of immediate kinds of problems. And I know that's not your role, but I think we can you know, do all kinds of things after kids are in gangs. But how do we stop them from getting into gangs and why are they joining? And what is it that's appealing to them. And of course, there's always going to be some people that are going to get into this kind of activity, but when it becomes very popular among certain groups of people we have to look at why (00:43:41) okay. Thanks (00:43:41) for the call like to hear what you have to say about that. (00:43:45) We we dealt a little bit on the prevention and I do think prevention is a very important thing. We originally when we started in business. We just we never thought about forfeiture money and all of a sudden we had some forfeiture money that we took from Arrested people in early on we as a Minnesota gaining Strikeforce thought we would like to get involved with some prevention we couldn't do a lot of it because of the numbers were strictly an enforcement thing, but we did try and do some things we did a there's every year they have this thing where you sign up in school and you promised not to bring a gun to school and we did some we paid for some videos that they play it. I think it started in Minnesota and I apologize a can't remember the lady's name that started it but it is a movement that goes throughout the United States now and we did a lot of that financially we took some of our money produced a series The video that is played spent some monies. I think they even did it at the Timberwolves game and in there are so many things and prevention I reading reading the kids. It sounds dumb but it's a way if you can get a kid little kid to start hearing somebody read to them and they get a sensitive feeling in there. There's a lot of things. I don't know. I don't know the answer. I wish I did but prevention is a big part of it. Can we do it? We're just chasing the after-effects of this gang (00:45:22) violence. Okay, Deb is on the line from st. Paul. Hello Deb. Go ahead, (00:45:27) please. Hi. I live in Frogtown right now and have lived here for about eight years. I just like to comment on the gentleman that called him before and said that he felt that Frogtown had been cleaned up. I don't think things have changed all that much. They're just different. There isn't a lot of on On the open drug-dealing the way they used to be but there's a lot more problem properties people that rent and do business out of the properties. And in many cases a lot of the landlords are on the take in some way to and cooperate with these things. And so it's moved into other areas. It's taken on a different face, but it's still going on and if we could hold landlords more accountable and that type of thing, I think it would be helpful. (00:46:19) Okay. Thanks for the (00:46:20) call. Just comment in she makes a very good problem properties. That's another prevention tool just to stay on-problem properties in usually I think there was a if you recall I think when the wild were in the playoffs they had a running gun battle right down the street from where we are right now and the Minnesota game Strike Force was able to assist st. Paul in that we had a list in our Intel of a group of gang members and we were able to identify them in one morning. They went out and they did I don't know 20 some warrants a lot of them in st. Paul North st. Paul Maplewood and it was a preventive type of a sweep so we could get ahead of them before the hot summer but it was interesting some of the places that they went to were I think could be deemed problem properties. They walk in and find Apartment where there's like nine kids sleeping. They got mattress is all over the floor. And obviously it's a flophouse if somebody could have or would have been on top of that at least these people it wouldn't have been able to get together and if you keep mine a run, I guess we keep them out of your area. (00:47:38) Hmm. Alright another caller Terry for Minneapolis. Hello Terry. (00:47:42) Hi. I was wondering about the intersection of Franklin and Park Avenue, and I was wondering if those are gang members that are there everyday or those like independent people. And also, is that a like a confinement? So where they get to operate their freely? (00:48:01) I am sorry. I cannot answer that we'd have to have somebody who works over there. We have some Minneapolis cappers. I personally can't can't tell you that. I'm sorry, (00:48:12) but if you see a I mean if there's a large group of people around and there you can tell they're selling drugs or you know, they're hanging around at the park. Is it a maybe a safe bet that there's some gang activity (00:48:25) there or if you know if it comes back to drugs and there's a large group of people safe bet. Yes that somewhere the gangs are involved either. They're getting it to the you know, the kids that are out there one of the things that we found last summer we did some saturations and they were picking up youngsters at were like 12 years old and they were selling these little bags of marijuana and what the gang members were doing was to hire these young kids because they know damn. Well, it it 12 years old. Nothing's going to happen to them. And you know the kids go out because they see the the gang members with the you know, the dripping of gold and you know fancy cars and they kind of suck them into being this is you could be like me someday. So that's how they get these young kids out there, you know, hustling slang and drugs and yes somewhere along the line. You're going to have some organized crime set up (00:49:25) someplace. All right, let's take another caller one from Minneapolis. Go ahead one. (00:49:31) Thanks for taking my call. I'm old enough to have a certain attitude about the subject you're discussing and it just seems to me that y'all are talking about domestic terrorism. That's my comment. If you care to address it, I'll hang up and dial. I'll listen. Thank (00:49:50) you. If nothing else it sounds like maybe a creative way to get some of that Federal money. (00:49:56) Absolutely and I think we had touched about upon that before in one of my year end. Ports probably the one not this year with the year before I talked about domestic terrorism. And that's what we do is deal with Urban terrorists. And you know, you hit it right on the head and that's one of our methods to go after some of the money I would (00:50:18) expect. Okay Chris from Crystal Chris. Go ahead. You're on. Midday. (00:50:23) Yeah. Hello. Thank you. I guess my question two questions. If I'm a number one is is there a list of known gang members in Minnesota that is made available to the public, you know, can we can we see this list of people and then number two, it seems to me that often what gang members themselves report brought them into the gangs isn't the the possibility of rising out of poverty. It's really protection from other gangs and other gang members. And so although they're you know, that that opportunity is important for them. It seems that often. They're really kind of driving their own membership. Enforcing their own membership by driving people into the gangs for protection from other gang members. Okay. That's it. That's more of a common. I guess. (00:51:09) No I can and I can also well with the first thing is there a gang list as I said before we have to computerized system the first one tracking 9000 about 9,000 gang members is strictly our Intel system that we cannot do anything with other than share with other law-enforcement the gang pointer file, which keeps track of confirmed convicted gang members. You have to be 14 years of age convicted and he have at least three of our 10 point criteria, you go into a computerized system out of handled by the BCA and even that isn't completely you can't put it out to the public but if a police officer stops Ryan Ryan and he's a confirmed Gang member stops him in Park Rapids and a punch in the computer that they've stopped Ryan Ryan and does an ncic check on a license. It will come back to that law enforcement officer that this is a confirmed convicted gang member in the state of Minnesota this member and it's just an officer safety thing. It's not a probable-cause thing and but it will say, you know that convicted of drive-by shooting or whatever. We also track that to to keep track of where gang members are going in the state and just as long as I'm I'll just touch on that this we have like I said 2600 confirmed convicted gang members in yet last year. We had over 14,000 contacts if you're following what I'm saying? So we we only have 2600 in there, but they were those people were contacted. Sometimes so in some of them are cop magnets. I understand that the Metro. I mean he'll get stop just because but there is a lot of movement. There's a lot of within the state even moving (00:53:13) around Well Ron Ryan. We are just about out of time here, and I'm sorry to tell all the folks waiting on the phones that were out of time. So we're going to have to ask you to come back again. Someday. (00:53:22) We would be glad to and thank you for the (00:53:24) opportunity. Well, thanks. It was very interesting. Our Ron Ryan is the Statewide commander of the Minnesota gang Strike Force and they took a big hit from the legislature this fall the session. I should say. I guess we'll see what happens next year, but thanks again for coming by. Thank you.