ROCK SPRINGS – Around 81 law enforcement officers, probation and parole agents, education professionals, youth counselors, and family services professionals from all over Wyoming participated last week in the sixth annual Western States Gang Conference, a three-day training seminar in Rock Springs.
Sweetwater County Sheriff Rich Haskell said the conference was sponsored by the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office, the Wyoming Highway Patrol, the Salt Lake County Metro Gang Unit, the Wyoming Peace Officers Association, Western Wyoming Community College, and RMIN, (the Rocky Mountain Information Network), a Bureau of Justice-funded network that facilitates information sharing within the law enforcement community. RMIN assists member law enforcement agencies in combating multi-jurisdictional criminal activities, such as criminal gang activity, that pose a threat to public safety.
Among the 10 speakers were gang experts from the Salt Lake Metro Gang Unit, the West Valley City, Utah, Police Department, the Wyoming Highway Patrol, and retired Detective Tony Avendorph, formerly of the Illinois Department of Corrections, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office and the Prince George’s County Police Department in Maryland.
Topics included Youth Gangs, Females in Gangs, Foreign Gangs on U.S. Soil, and Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs.
Haskell recommends that concerned parents or anyone seeking information on gangs go to the Internet website “Gangs,” maintained by the FBI at www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/vc_majorthefts/gangs, the website for the National Gang Center at www.nationalgangcenter.gov, and the Project Safe Neighborhood website atwww.bja.gov/programdetails.aspx?program_id=74.
“The Sheriff’s Office also has specialists who can answer questions or give presentations for civic, school, community, and church groups throughout the county,” he said, and encouraged any group interested to contact his agency.