Lawton, OK – Lawton police say the Fort Sill Army base is home to many soldiers who also are gang members, but base officials dispute that claim.
Lt. Darrell Southerland, a 20-year police veteran who oversees the Lawton Gang Task Force Unit, says his six-member unit has routinely gathered and shared evidence with Fort Sill officials about soldiers stationed at Fort Sill who also are gang members.
He says evidence has been obtained through traffic stops and arrests and includes photos of gang-related tattoos and information from informants.
Southerland says Fort Sill has a problem with gangs but nobody wants to listen.
Fort Sill spokesman Jon Long disagrees. He says police have not presented any evidence of a widespread gang problem involving Fort Sill soldiers to base officials.
Long says the photos and Web site images of soldiers flashing gang signs, which have collected by Lawton police, are, quote, ``not proof that the person pictured is actually a gang member.''