Less than a month after Ty Morrow became Bryan's police chief, three gang-related shootings happened in one night.
His plan on reducing gang crime likely didn't change as a result, only strengthened.
"The only way that you truly, affectively deal with gangs based on the perspective that I have is to take the fight directly to them," Morrow said. "First, you try to engage them like men and women and have adult conversations."
And try, he did. Early on, Morrow extended an invitation to all gang leaders to sit down and discuss any issues and differences. No one took the offer.
Morrow's policy path is born out of his old stomping grounds, Fairfax County, Virginia. Its population is larger than seven states. Its gang population is high as well. The infamous MS-13 reportedly has 3,000 members in that county alone.
For as long as Sgt. Shane Bush has been on the force, Bryan hasn't been a stranger to gangs either. For many, it's all in the family.
They'll recruit anywhere from 10 to 11. When it's in the family -- your brother's one, your uncle's one and your father's one -- it's just the thing to do.
"We have pictures of fathers and small children, teaching them how to throw gang signs."
Authorities say their numbers are hard to measure, but their activity is sometimes easy to find. Open dealing of drugs in the streets is just one criminal act BPD wants to end.
Bryan's response has been three-fold, first with the new Neighborhood Enforcement Team, which is charged with taking complaints and concerns, and earning trust. Then, that info is passed on to analysts, who seek out trends in the criminal acts.
"And then our strategy is to use the DDT and the DET to target the criminal and not the crime," Morrow said.
The Directed Deployment and Drug Enforcement Teams have been at work for a few years now, and have netted thousands of dollars worth of drugs, one of the staples of gang activity.
According to those on the front lines of tracking gangs, here are the five biggest in Bryan, and how to identify them:
- Latin Kings: predominately black and gold clothed members who favor the left side (pant leg rolled up, hats tilted, hand-signs, etc.)
- Surenos: predominately blue and white clothed members who favor the right side
- South Land Gangsters: predominately blue and white clothed members who favor the right side
- Bloods: predominately red clothed members who favor the left
- Crips: predominately blue clothed members who favor the right
Authorities say there is often no coincidence when a young person exclusively wears the same colors every day and favors the same side.
Even before Morrow's arrival, crime in Bryan had begun a steady decline since 2004. The numbers have not been this good, say authorities, since 1998, but it's gangs that, in part, are impeding further progress.
"My ultimate hope is that Bryan, in time, will become the safest city in the great state of Texas, and ultimately, the safest city in the United States," Morrow said.
His message to gangs is simple: "The biggest and the baddest gang in Bryan is the Bryan Police Department."
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