Gang Task Force on lookout over May long weekend 

As a result of the escalating gang wars in the Lower Mainland, several RCMP gang task force members will be patrolling Whistler during the May long weekend.

"With the escalation of issues in the Lower Mainland we just want to hopefully keep any of those types of people that are involved in gangs from coming up in the area," said Staff Sergeant Neil Cross.

For the first time ever the Integrated Gang Task Force has been asked to come to Whistler to be a part of the beefed up police services on hand May 15-18.

That gang task force has the clout to ask any known gang member to leave a bar or restaurant on the bar owner's behalf. It's a strategy that has worked in the Lower Mainland.

The rationale for asking the gang members to move along, said Cross, is to protect the public.

"There's a good chance there's going to be some kind of violent activity happening (with a gang member nearby)," he told council at Tuesday's meeting.

Councillor Tom Thomson asked how the police would recognize a gang member.

"That's a tough question," admitted Cross, who said they rely on the gang task force to identify them.
"They're the ones we're going to rely on."

In his report to council Cross outlined the increased police presence for the May long weekend, a traditionally very busy weekend for the local police force.

"As we know, in the past there have been challenges," he said.

On Friday and Saturday nights there will be an additional 28 officers working each night, for a total of 37 officers. On Sunday night there will 18 additional officers, for a total of 23 officers.

They will include not only the Integrated Gang Task Force but also members from Traffic Services, the Police Dog Service, the General Investigation Section and Police Bike Patrols.

There will be a zero tolerance policy for any open alcohol in the village and at the local parks. Traffic Services will also be on the lookout for any aggressive driving or speeding as well as conducting nightly road checks for impaired driving.

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