Our View: Trece injunction harmed

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 2:20 PM

Editorial Board, Standard-Examiner

Ogden city’s injunction against the criminal Ogden Trece gang has harmed Trece’s ability to commit criminal acts. It has made Junction City safer for its residents and visitors.

However, police will have to find another way to bar gang members from associating with each other in public, being near guns, drugs, or alcohol in public, or adhere to an 11 p.m. curfew for Trece members. We urge local law enforcement to continue to work to find ways to keep these criminal elements off Ogden’s streets, while still adhering to the technical requirements of the decision.

In its ruling, the Utah Supreme Court said that the Trece injunction was voided because leaders of the Trece gang were not identified and served with an injunction. As a result, many of the 250 or so arrests of Trece gang members for violating the injunction will likely have to be dismissed.

We suspect that law enforcement officers, who have to deal with these criminal elements on a daily basis, are somewhat bemused by the court’s insistence that Trece Gang “executives” be specifically named. However, the decision must be respected.

According to Weber County Attorney Dee Smith, leaders of the Trece Gang are called “shot-callers.” They stay in the shadows of the gang membership. “Shot-callers are kept secret,” said Smith. As he explains, the Trece gang leadership is not centralized, and is also fluid. Many of the “shot-callers” rotate through jail or prison with others soon taking their place.

It will be a tough assignment for law enforcement to keep Trece in check and protect residents. The Utah Supreme Court, with its decision, has made those tasks harder. Nevertheless, law enforcement faces challenges every day, and we have confidence that professionals, from Smith to the police on the beat, will use their talents to do the best to keep the peace.

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