Motorcycle Gang Training For Yakima

Motorcycle Gang Training For Yakima
They are smart, they are cunning and they are here.
That's the message from Yakima police when it comes to outlaw motorcycle gangs.
Today, police from across the state gathered in Yakima to hear from one of the nation's best known experts on motorcycle gangs.
And what he shared with me should put you and your family on guard.
There's a reason we usually associate biker gangs with movies and television. In the real world, they don't want to be seen.

Steve Cook is considered "THE" expert on motorcycle gangs in the U-S.
This week, Cook brought his expertise to Yakima... sharing years of research about logos, colors and conduct with a police force and public that may not be as prepared as they should be.

"The biggest threat is just violence," says Cook. "It could be traffic related. It could be someone giving them a look inside a restaurant that they deemed offensive and they're gonna come up and deal with that person."

You may be wondering about now, why should I care about motorcycle gangs when these aren't the people I hang out with? The problem with that according to Steve Cook is that if you eat in local restaurants, drink in local bars or even participate in local charity events, you already associate with them.

Charity rides, toy donations... Cook has learned these are part of the disguise.

"What they don't tell you is what they're doing the rest of the year. They're selling drugs. They're stealing motorcycles. They're beating people up. They're committing a laundry list of crimes."

YPD knows some Banditos are already part of the Yakima community. But new members are also looking for a break.

YPD trainer, Ritch Fowler explains, "They want a sense of belonging somewhere. These groups are out there recruiting them. They've got tactics. They know urban warfare stuff."

It's the kind of stuff cops here are just now beginning to understand.