If the Wichita Police Department places an individual on their documented gang member list, the legal ramifications can be very serious. If arrested, a documented gang member can face significantly higher bonds. If placed on probation or parole, a documented gang member may face stricter conditions than a person who is not on the list will. If a documented gang member is accused of a crime, the department will inform the media that the suspect is a documented gang member, and this information will be presented to the jury as evidence of guilt.
But what causes the department to place a person on the list? Below, is the department’s gang policy, which is based on Kansas state law:
All of this poses the question of how the State of Kansas defines a gang. According to statute 21-6313, a “criminal street gang” means any organization, association or group, whether formal or informal, consisting of three or more persons, having as one of its primary activities the commission of one or more person felonies, person misdemeanors, or violations of the uniform controlled substances act, prior to July 1, 2009; has a common name or identifying sign or symbol, and whose members, individually or collectively, engage in, or have engaged in the commission, attempted commission, conspiracy to commit or solicitation to commit two or more of the above mentioned crimes.
In other words, if you are the mother of a documented gang member, live in that gang’s territory, and have been stopped in a car with your documented gang member child more than twice, you could be on the documented gang member list. I mention this, because it was a question posed in a meeting, some time ago.
Once an individual is placed on the documented gang member list, there is no procedure to have their name removed. If you were in a gang ten years ago, and are no longer involved in criminal activity, you are still on the list. Once you are on the list, you stay on the list.
(The notion that once you are on the list, you cannot be removed is being disputed, and may be incorrect. If it is, I will report this as well.)
The Wichita Police Department does not release the names of those who are on the gang list, as mentioned in the policy above. However, they will certainly release to the media that a suspect is on that list, without hesitation. The public should be able to view this list, as a matter of public safety. Don’t you want to know if your neighbor is on the list? Wouldn’t you want to know if you were mistakenly placed on this list?