BSU hosts gang awareness workshop

Mark Martin, a veteran Minneapolis police officer and instructor and curriculum developer for the National Gang Center, will present “Understanding Minnesota Gangs,” a gang awareness and identification workshop, May 13 at Bemidji State University.

The workshop will be held from 8 a.m. – noon in Hagg-Sauer Hall 100 on the Bemidji State campus; the workshop carries a fee of $25 per person, and registration is available online at Eventbrite. Peace Officer Standards and Training credits are available for licensed peace officers who participate in the workshop.

The training session is intended to be the most comprehensive overview of gangs available. It is designed for teachers; police, corrections and probation officers; social workers and others who work with children.

Workshop topics will include:
• gang definitions and statutes in Minnesota;
• reasons why children join gangs;
• factors that pre-dispose children to gang membership;
• varying levels of gang involvement.

Martin will then provide a thorough overview of known gangs operating in Minnesota, from larger gangs based in Chicago and Los Angeles to homegrown gangs and modern hybrid gangs. He also will provide an overview of Latino, White Supremacist and Native gangs.

Martin has been investigating and tracking intelligence on street gangs for 19 years. He has served as a patrol officer, investigator and supervisor in the Minneapolis Police Department’s Gang Unit, served as metro commander for the Minnesota Gang Strike Force and has testified in dozens of homicide trials as an expert witness on gangs and gang activity. He currently is an instructor and curriculum developer at the National Gang Center, which trains police officers across the country in local, tribal, state and federal agencies.

The workshop is sponsored by Bemidji State University’s Department of Public Safety and the BSU Criminal Justice Club.

For more information, call (612) 290-3487.

Minnesota Gangs website