It is nearing the peak of overtime season for police in the northern hemisphere thanks to the world’s one percenter motorcycle clubs.
The last couple of weeks, law enforcement’s biggest benefactor has been the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. Last week members held a big national run in Ottawa, Canada. This week the club is partying this week in Cripple Creek, Colorado.
Twelve day from now local, state and federal police will convene for their big, annual zero tolerance festival in Sturgis, South Dakota.
Actually, there were more public disturbances at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland than at the Angels’ Canada run – to the disappointment of many. A producer with CTV News Channel in Toronto named Melissa Myers put out an urgent appeal for any biker expert to go on camera by FaceTime or Skype “for a quick, three to five minute, interview on the HA in Ottawa this weekend.” Maybe Steve Cook was available. He can usually think of something bad to say. The citizens of Ottawa couldn’t.
The Ottawa Citizen reported, the “Angels largely seemed to play tourist.” The paper quoted Sarah Shown, the manager at an upscale restaurant called the Metropolitain Brasserie, who thought, “They were really polite, very well-behaved, honestly they were a delight.”
Ottawa police had described the run “as organized crime coming from all over Canada meeting in one location.” Local cops were reinforced by police from Ville de Gatineau, the Ontario Provincial Police and Sûreté du Québec. CTV reported that something called the “Biker Enforcement Unit…set up outside the (Carlsbad Springs) clubhouse, identifying and photographing each and every member before they enter. Police say the bikers have a legal obligation to comply with police at the check-in point.”
In Cripple Creek, a high elevation mining town that became a gambling town when the mines closed, the ATF, FBI, DEA, Homeland Security Investigations, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Army Criminal Investigations Command, Teller County Sheriff’s Office, Cripple Creek Police Department, Colorado Springs Police Department, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, Canyon City Police Department and other agencies have taken over the local high school for a command center. There is no doubt that there will be more police than bikers in Cripple Creek this week. Probably there will be more federal police in town than bikers.
Law enforcement officials seem to be in a panic over the possibility that the Angels might open a charter in nearby Colorado Springs in the next year and they see the Cripple Creek run as a prelude to that.
Residents have a slightly different view. They are afraid the Angels won’t spend enough. One local resident grumbled, “They don’t spend much money gambling wise. They even brought their own food truck, set up a tent and feed members.”
Don’t worry Cripple Creek. There is always “The Salute To American Veterans Rally” in August. And in the meantime, all those cops have all that overtime money burning holes in their pockets.