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Madison county Sheriff's office hosts training for identifying Gangs, Hate Groups & Terrorist group


The Madison-County Sheriff’s department held a training to educate law enforcement from all across the region about gangs and other groups that may be present in the community and the jails.

“There are gangs in this community, there are groups that operate in the dark…cartels that utilize this highway to traffic drugs to North Carolina, to other parts of the country," said Robert Fountain a trainer for the Department of Homeland Security.

He travels around the country teaching rural law enforcement how to identify and deal with gangs, terrorist groups and hate groups.

Fountain emphasizes that understanding the groups and learning how to identify members are the first steps for law enforcement,

“They can sit back and listen to phone calls and understand, ‘hey this guy may be affiliated with this group.’ or they could see a tattoo and know that this guy may be affiliated with that…it changes their minds and influences the way they deal with people.”

Sheriff John Mehr organized the training. He says Madison County is no stranger to gangs,

“We have those groups right on i-40…we have Memphis and all the other larger cities between us. It doesn’t mean that they are all going to go to the larger cities, they come to a place near us.”

Fountain agrees that gangs can show up anywhere,

“Not too far down the road, an hour from here you’re getting 4 or 5 shootings a day, that’s not a long way before that may come here. These guys don’t stop at the county line.”

And he says that it takes a lot of hard work to stop these gangs from hurting the community,

“You’re not going to arrest your way out of this problem, you’ve got to educate your way out of it… get out here in these streets and meet these people and go back to community policing to heal these communities.”

The main message at this training session today: gangs are not just a big city problem, and places like Madison County should do all they can to keep them out.

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