OGDEN -- Ogden police are being asked to use the Trece gang injunction in ways they never thought of, such as parents asking them to serve the injunction on their kids to keep them away from the gang. Or gang members using it to get out of Trece.
Employed in a few other states, the public nuisance injunction in force since late September is a first for Utah. It bans members of the city's oldest street gang from associating with each other in public, being around guns, drugs and alcohol, or staying out past 11 p.m.
The 331-page injunction cites two Trece members sent to prison for murder in the past two years as well as multiple robberies, assaults, drug dealing and an auto theft ring over the past three years, leaving Ogdenites feeling unsafe on the streets.
Enforcement has been slow, with only a few arrests so far as officers work to serve the hundreds of Trece members with the injunction personally, a prerequisite to enforcing it.
"Two that I know of," Police Lt. Scott Conley said of requests from families wanting the injunction served on their young teenagers. "They want to control their kids. They're afraid they're getting into gangs."
So far, the 12-year-old boy and the 13-year-old girl in question don't meet the criteria to be named Trece members, said Conley, who heads the Ogden Metro Gang Unit, which co-authored the injunction with the Weber County Attorney's Office.
"One of them has other family members deeply involved with gangs," he said. "And they don't want the youngest involved, and neither do the older brothers."
The two do not currently meet the criteria for inclusion in the gang unit's data base of active gang members, Conley said.
"But we're looking into it. If they are actively banging with Trece, they could be served. We're just getting the intel.
"We had to tell (the parents) they haven't fit the criteria, but this means people out there are glad to see this is coming about."
The injunction has been under legal challenges for two months, including arguments Oct. 25 before the Utah Supreme Court.
The ACLU of Utah and several defense attorneys asked for a stay of the injunction while concerns over its constitutionality are argued further in court.
A decision is expected on the stay within several weeks.
Conley said he has been startled to see some Treces are using the injunction as a way to get out of the gang.
"We've had a couple who are using the injunction to get away from the gang without getting 'jumped out,' " he said, referring to the ritual beating from other gang members a member takes upon leaving. They are "jumped in" upon joining.
"They're using the injunction as an excuse to stay away from other individuals in the gang," Conley said. "I never imagined they would look at it that way: Actual gang members using it as a possible tool to get out of the gang."
Conley invited concerned parents and potential gang escapees to contact the gang unit. "If they meet the criteria, we're glad to help. Our address is 2186 Lincoln Ave."
Trece attorneys have challenged the gang unit's database as arbitrary.
Meeting two of eight criteria, such as being named a gang member by a confidential source, or found in the company of documented gang members by police on three occasions, can result in an individual being listed in the gang database.
One of the eight factors is being named a Trece by parents or guardians.
Trece was formed in 1974, according to the injunction, which includes more than 100 pages of photographs of gang tattoos, graffiti, hand signs and clothing and accuses Trece members of everything from graffiti to murder.