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Richard Valdemar

Richard Valdemar

Sgt. Richard Valdemar retired from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after spending most of his 33 years on the job combating gangs.

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Mark Rivera

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Mark Rivera, Customer Retention Manager and CJIS Security Compliance Officer with Vigilant Solutions, served for sixteen years with the Maryland State Police, retiring at the rank of First Sergeant with thirteen of those years at the supervisory and command level. He holds a Master of Science Degree in Management from The Johns Hopkins University and Secret clearance through the FBI, Baltimore.


Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs: Making the Cut

Outlaw motorcycle gang members gain status by committing criminal acts for a patch that can be sewn directly onto their cut.

May 17, 2011  |  by Chuck Schoville

Outlaw motorcycle gang members join together and refer to each other as brothers. They take great pride in believing they're an outlaw brotherhood living outside of society's laws. They often wear patches to indicate that they are "1 percenters" and relish the fact that they're not like the other 99 percent of the motorcycling community.

They use fear and intimidation to control other groups of motorcyclists as well as citizens into conforming and supporting the dominant 1 percent group. They taunt and disrespect law enforcement agencies. It's rather that they appreciate the perceived power they've garnered as a member of a gang.

Once one of their members has been arrested and charged with a gang-motivated crime, they'll quickly point out that they're not a gang, but are instead a club. It's really a matter of semantics. Historically, members of motorcycle gangs have been arrested on an occasional basis. In the last five to 10 years, there has been a drastic increase in the identification and arrests of motorcycle gang members.

Members of law enforcement agencies have realized that agencies of all sizes must work collectively to have an impact on Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMGs) to prevent their continued spread. Law enforcement is utilizing federal and state criminal organization statutes to target the entire gang hierarchy. Non-traditional methods of law enforcement are also being utilized to include the successful placement of undercover officers within the gangs, going after the "patch," civil forfeiture of illegally obtained proceeds including clubhouses, and civil abatement processes to seize buildings used to conduct illegal criminal activity.

In the past decade, law enforcement has successfully investigated, arrested, and incarcerated members of numerous outlaw motorcycle gangs throughout the world. This success has caused the members of the criminal organizations to act more cautiously and form unusual alliances with other motorcycle groups and criminal organizations. They no longer know who to trust, because it's not unusual for OMG members to cooperate with law enforcement.

A prosecutor can bring one gang expert after another into a courtroom to describe the ideology, mindset, and motivation of an OMG member. The defense attorneys argue that experts aren't knowledgeable about the inner workings of a motorcycle club.

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