Gangs at Army installation are topic of heated debate

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: November 12, 2008
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Th
e rebuttal was issued after a private sitdown with Southerland, the mayor, the police chief and the city manager. Southerland was ordered not to speak with the media.

In his earlier interview with our reporter, Southerland said his unit has routinely shared with post officials its evidence, gleaned from traffic stops and arrests. "But nobody wants to listen,” he said.

Clearly, they’re listening now.

We hope the reaction was designed to quell any notion that Fort Sill is rife with gang members, as opposed to trying to impugn the detective. The post isn’t overrun with gang-bangers, of course, and Southerland, a 20-year veteran of the department, never suggested as much. But he and his task force aren’t making these stories up.

We’re reminded of what Hunter Glass, an expert in the study of gangs in the military, told Jackson. His lectures "aren’t always popular. People get angry,” Glass said. "I’ve had politicians call me, generals call me ... but people have to wake up.”

The case built by the Lawton police about gang-related problems linked directly to the post is pretty strong.


by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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