APD: Austin has ‘minimal’ presence of biker gang members

Deadly biker gang shooting at Twin Peaks in Waco (Alicia Inns/KXAN)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin police say they continue to monitor biker gang activity in Austin after the violence in Waco.

“Typically… outlaw motorcycle gangs are notorious for their violent tendencies,” said an APD detective. “Like I’ve stated earlier, we’ve done a really good job within the organized crime division of the Austin Police Department with keeping a lid on that violence.”

The undercover detective spoke to media Monday and said APD knew of about 50 members of motorcycle gangs in Austin. The detective also confirmed that APD received a bulletin about tensions between motorcycle groups. However, it did not involve Austin individuals at that time, he said.

“You can’t be 100 percent saying that we’re going to prevent every crime that happens, but the citizens should know that us (sic) in the organized crime division are in contact with our sources and that we’re going to do everything we can to protect the citizens, to make sure that this type of violence doesn’t occur in our city,” said the detective.

“Kind of a scary time to know that [the Waco shooting] happened and that there’s the potential for violence,” said Andy Ranum, general manager of Hardtails Bar and Grill in Georgetown, Texas.

Hardtails is also a hangout for bikers. Ranum has not noticed any problems recently.

“For the most part, everybody acts right and they come out to have fun just like everybody else,” said Ranum.

He also says police checked in with the bar after the Waco shooting.

“I think when you get competing groups and competing clubs, I think that’s where you get problems and for the most part I have not seen a lot of competing groups in this area,” said Ranum.

Republic of Texas Rally

The biker gang shootings in Waco come less than a month before the biggest biker rally in Texas rolls into Austin. The Republic of Texas Biker Rally starts June 11.

One showcase event is the biker parade from the Travis County Expo Center to Congress Avenue. The event brings close to 200,000 motorcycle enthusiasts to the city, and the rally has an estimated economic impact of nearly $40 million.

On Monday, Jerry Bragg, president of the Republic Biker Rally, issued the following statement:

Each year, the Republic of Texas Biker Rally festival works closely with law enforcement and local officials to ensure that the tens of thousands of patrons who attend official festival activities at the Exposition Center and that Austinites and the 200,000 people who come to Austin each year to join in the downtown festivities have a safe and enjoyable experience in and around our great city.

Working together, festival organizers, the Travis County Sheriff’s Department and the Austin Police Department develop and implement detailed safety, security, traffic and crowd control plans beginning months before each year’s event. Organizers also work with local media and the Texas Department of Public Safety to develop and promote motorcycle safety campaigns and public service announcements.

For the upcoming 20th Anniversary R.O.T. Rally festival on June 11-14 2015, we continue to consult with and implement recommendations of these law enforcement organizations so that everyone can have a fun and safe R.O.T. Rally experience, so the R.O.T. Rally can continue to benefit the Austin economy and support and honor our U.S. military and its veterans.

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