Tech-savvy gangsters keep tabs on cops: Expert

Sgt. Evel Kiez of the Calgary Police Service demonstrates a new in-car camera system at the...

Sgt. Evel Kiez of the Calgary Police Service demonstrates a new in-car camera system at the service's northeast office in Calgary on Tuesday, October 23, 2012. (QMI Agency/LYLE ASPINALL)

JOHN LAW, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:39 PM ET

Police and gangs use the same technology, and whoever is more savvy stays one step ahead.

That's the message that came out of the Ontario Gang Investigation Association's annual conference in Niagara Falls this week.

Association president Jim Aspiotis said it's a constant chess game, with new tactics always being used.

"Gangs evolve every day," he said in an interview, taking a break from the three-day event.

The conference was closed to the public, since "trade secrets" were shared with cops, probation officers, customs officers and other members of law enforcement.

"They're very savvy," he said. "They'll leave the police jurisdiction that they're known in to go to a neighbouring jurisdiction where they're not known."

Not content to let police dictate the fight, many gangs use Twitter and Facebook to track officers and glean personal information as a way to unsettle them.

They'll even show up at police events, Aspiotis said.

"As we try to gather intelligence on them, they're trying to gather intelligence on us," said Aspiotis. "A lot of it is intimidation. They'll say, 'We know where you live, we know your children.' They may or may not. But certainly it's going to derail or rattle you for a bit."

That's why it takes a certain type of officer to take them on.

"And it's not who you expect. It's not the hardest ass or the toughest officer. Gang members like to be respected, they like to be talked to properly. The best officers are the ones who can build rapport."

john.law@sunmedia.ca


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