ST. PAUL — The Violent Crime Coordinating Council (VCCC) adopted a nine-point set of gang criteria that outlines the ways law enforcement officials identify and track gang members in Minnesota. Prior to formal adoption, Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman reviewed and approved the criteria.
“Our goals are to keep the public safe, reduce violent crime, and protect police officers,” said Ken Reed, St. Paul Police Department Commander and chair of the VCCC. “We had a strong consensus among community members and other stakeholders during the development of the criteria. The outcome was accurate, objective criteria to help law enforcement quickly identify violent criminals.”
One significant change from criteria and characteristics ratified by the Gang and Drug Oversight Council in 2006 is the definition of a “confirmed gang member.” New criteria have been narrowed to include only gang members who have been adjudicated or convicted of a crime of violence as defined by state law (Minn. Stat.624.712, subd. 5).
The VCCC, which replaced the Gang and Drug Oversight Council, is made up of 19 voting members, including four citizen members and 15 members representing federal, state and local law enforcement and criminal justice agencies. The Council provides direction and oversight to multi-jurisdictional narcotics and violent crime task forces located throughout the state.
Commander Reed and Commissioner Dohman are recommending that agencies devise strategies for implementing training and other related aspects including parental notification after law enforcement contact with juveniles suspected of gang activity, gang violence prevention, and effective intervention efforts.
More information on the history and development of the new criteria, along with the complete report to the Commissioner of Public Safety, can be found on the VCCC website https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ojp/Pages/violent-crimes-coordinating-council.aspx