Gang conference being held in Tulsa

Tuesday, June 11th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Gangs in Tulsa, they are here, and law enforcement officers from around the state gathered in Tulsa to share information and intelligence regarding gang activity in the state.

News on Six Reporter Patrina Adger tells us law enforcement officers are fighting to control the problem here.31 year old Abdullah Al Muhajir was a former Chicago gang member before he converted to Islam and plotted with the Al Qaeda network to attack the US with a radioactive dirty bomb. “Which goes to show some of the anti-social behavior you see in some of these groups as to how they can make a transition from a street criminal to terrorist acts."

Police officers know all gang members regardless of race or gender are dangerous. For the past six years, law enforcement agencies have addressed the issue during the annual gang conference.

More than 1,200 gang members walk the streets of Tulsa. And while the trend is not growing, Tulsa Police Gang Task Force Sgt. Van Ellis says the numbers aren't getting smaller. He says over the course of the week, officers will learn about a variety of gang activity. And share information and investigative techniques for others to apply on the streets in their city. "It's something we take seriously. They're gonna be learning some things about domestic terrorism and white supremacy and hate crimes will be an issue."

Officers who investigated the hate crime in Jasper, Texas where a black man was dragged to his death will talk to these officers about what they know now about hate crimes.

Ellis says crimes of that magnitude haven't happened here in Tulsa but last month's incident in Oklahoma City where a black man was doused with gasoline and burned makes it a grim reality nonetheless. "Last year we saw 36 hate crimes. This year we're at fifteen. It's a problem everyone needs to be aware of. It's not a North Tulsa problem or a Hispanic problem. We see it throughout the city."