Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

The Tri-City Herald reports that Attorney General Rob McKenna realized the severity of Washington’s mounting gang problem in 2005. McKenna discussed his awareness at a Richland Rotary Club meeting earlier this month:

The epiphany came in 2005 when he was told he couldn't pass out red wristbands with an  anti-drug message to students at a school because red is a gang color. He also couldn't use  blue, white or pink. "We finally came up with green. That was a neutral color," McKenna  said. "It really opened our eyes to the issue."

As a result, McKenna kicked off an in-depth legislative examination in hopes of discovering a solution to this predicament:

His latest proposals attack the gang issue from three directions -- by toughening penalties  for gang leaders who recruit teenagers, by allowing cities to use nuisance abatement  orders to shut down gang houses and by creating a way for local governments to pay for  prevention programs.

Neighborhoods in and around the Tri-Cities need help. With 1,000 gang members already present within the adjacent cities, Benton County Sheriff Steve Keane says that an anti-gang team is necessary in order to combat this escalating issue:

Keane said the offensive move against gangs will be a comprehensive approach to  intervene, suppress and prevent gang activity. And it will rely on community partnerships  to develop resources for getting people out of gangs through education and  encouragement.

Furthermore, as reported by KXLY, Spokane officials are concerned with potential violent eruptions between rival motorcycle gangs Hells Angels and Mongol Nation:

The bad blood between the Mongols and Hells Angels goes back many years. In 2002 the  gangs clashed during the Laughlin River Run. A fight inside Harrah’s Laughlin Casino  between the Mongols and Hells Angels left three dead and 13 injured.

In an attempt to curb such instances, McKenna’s proposed legislation will assist law enforcement and community programs in their fight against gangs and gang violence. 

-Jennifer Carr-