More Gang Members Off Green Bay Streets - WBAY

More Gang Members Off Green Bay Streets

Updated:
Since Tuesday afternoon when Green Bay police announced the arrest of nine top leaders of the "Bay City Kings," a Latin Kings Gang, Action 2 News has learned two more people with gang ties have turned themselves into authorities.

Police tell us they've also received tips from community members about gang activity but want to know more.

When police first learned of the Bay City Kings late last year, they formed a gang suppression unit, assigning a handful of specially trained undercover officers to work on gangs full-time.

It took nine months to infiltrate the Bay City Kings and eventually arrest the group's top tier. But police tell Target 2 it will take continued, aggressive efforts to make sure some other gangs don't take their place.

Gang members have tried to leave their mark on northeast Wisconsin through acts ranging from graffiti covering a tunnel near the popular City Deck downtown last week to disturbances, burglaries and weapons calls in neighborhoods. Overall, gangs are responsible for disrupting the life of so many.

"People all want to create a community of safety and opportunity and gangs just aren't part of that, so we're going to do what we can to try and eliminate that," said Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt.

When Green Bay's gang suppression unit took Target 2 on a midnight patrol in April, they showed how gangs are connected to hundreds of crimes.

"Everyday you're immersed in it and everyday, you see faces, you see names, you see phone numbers, you see cars, family members," said Officer Mike of the gang suppression unit.

At the time they had identified or confirmed more than one thousand people connected to one of many area gangs. Target 2 learned while that amount has not drastically changed, police believe removing the leaders of the Bay City Kings and their drug and stolen firearm trafficking operation will make a lasting impact as long as the gang unit continues gathering intelligence.

"I think as long as we stay active and aggressive infiltrating these groups, and identifying them, we can probably keep a handle on that," said Captain Todd Thomas of the Green Bay Police Department.

Police tell Target 2 there are more arrests to make in this case but after that the future of the specialized gang suppression unit is unclear.

Target 2 asked Mayor Schmitt about the program's future and whether it was something he though there would be room for in the budget in the future.

"Yeah, this is a success for our community. It took time, right? It was a nine month deal to do this, but we will put more resources, well, we're going to put more resources into a couple things, but definitely a drug task force, a gang task force," Schmitt said.

"The more resources we have to throw at a problem, the better we at solving it, so it's one of those things where if we have the resources available, we'll definitely use them that way," Thomas said.

In the meantime, Schmitt says gang members need options for an alternative lifestyle.

"I think it's equally as important we put resources into quality after school programs, resources into other activities for kids to do," Schmitt said.

While it's tough to break the cycle of gangs in some families, police say education and engagement is key.

"Getting them employed, drug free, away from substances. There's a lot of different things that need to be done," Thomas said.
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