Paso Robles police greet bikers with beefed up force

June 23, 2015

PASO ROBLES BRICK SIGNThe outlaw Vagos Motorcycle Club came to Paso Robles Friday, and the police department greeted the bikers by beefing up patrols, barricading buildings and calling in the SWAT team. [KSBY]

Vagos bikers arrived on Friday and checked into some Paso Robles hotels. Some members of other motorcycle clubs also came into the area, according to the police department. Police say a few dozen bikers arrived in the city.

No violence broke out, and the police did not receive any threats in advance. The bikers made appearances in some bars, and they left Paso Robles by the end of the weekend.

Yet, multiple law enforcement agencies sent personnel to Paso Robles. Officers cordoned off certain areas of town, including city hall, the library and the police department.

SWAT vehicles and a San Luis Obispo police van appeared in Paso Robles. Also, some officers were seen wearing full body armor.

Many residents questioned the police response.

Police Chief Robert Burton said the police operation aimed to protect the community against a documented gang organization and to be ready in case violence broke out.

Burton said the biker event was a large gathering. In that sense it was different type of event than an outlaw motorcycle gang gathering in town, as sometimes occurs, Burton said.

Police officers, investigators and county gang task force officers determined in advance that the bikers were coming to town. They then put an operation plan together to ensure they would be prepared to deal with anything that may happen, Burton said.


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SamLouis

I think there is great value in rousting garbage like the Vagos and doing everything legally possible to cause them to choose another location for their next gathering.


These people are absolute scum — and they advertise the fact they are absolute scum. They’re killers. They’re drug traffickers. In other words, they’re dangerous. Take measures to keep them out of a Central Coast city? You betcha…


Pelican1

Oh, come on! This event simply replaced the once popular cruise weekend that people from all over came to participate in.


October

Students party in SLO and a roof collapses. Everyone asks “Where were the police during this party?” Here the cops are being proactive and people say ” Total overkill.” Sounds to me like some people are going to complain no matter what the cops do.


LameCommenter

I guess none of you who think it’s an over reaction can RECALL the recent incident in Texas, the Hollister thing, the time the CHP stood on a hill with shotguns with stopped motorcycles while the Hells Angels assembled money to send back to a gas station they had stolen fuel from by threat of force.


This was done brilliantly. A dangerous criminal gang collects in a town. The cops are not caught by surprise. The police simply lay out some defensive preparations and don’t bug the gang if they don’t bug the public. Well except for the public harm from noise, pollution of removed catalytic systems, and the general fear that a “rocker patch” dangerous gang gives to the aware and awake members of the general public.


Perfect call, and execution, by the Paso chief and his advisors.


NorthCountyGuy

Instead of wasting taxpayers dollars on imaginary threats, Burton and his incompetent cronies should be surrounding the 75 MPH speeders on Golden Hill and the Mexican Drug Gangs on the North End of Spring State.


Perspicacious

Absolute overreaction.


SLOnative

What did that show of force cost Paso taxpayers? Agree with the over-kill. It’s normal for groups to meet on the Central Coast. It’s an easy drive from both north, south and east car clubs, bike clubs, golfers and wine enthusiasts. Was Marlon Brando’s “The Wild One” on TCM recently?


kayaknut

Likely a lot less than the city council paid the former police chief to keep quiet. So which cost do you think the taxpayers would prefer?


JB Bronson

Good call in my opinion. “To protect and serve”. Anyone who questioned the police response is either uninformed, or question everything.


Paso has been criticized as being an outlaw town under Solomon’s watch when she was skewing data to DOJ instead of being proactive as Chief Burton was in this case.


The bad guys are not just going to give us the streets back. We have to start by not losing the ones we still have, and slowly gain on the ones lost.


pasoparent5

I disagree. The response was complete overkill.

Full body armor? SWAT vehicles? Nonsense. I’m surprised Burton didn’t request Sheriff Ian to parade his boat up and down Spring Street–as a show of force. [sarcasm!]


Besides, if the danger to residents WAS so great, then why were the cops all congregated around the police station and library?


I guess the poor locals would’ve been out of luck unless they were hanging out at the library on Friday night during those “very dangerous” hours.


mbbizpro

Are you aware that the FBI has the Vagos identified in the National Gang Threat Assesment as one of the most dangerous gangs in the country? What about the fact that they have threatened/terrorized police agencies in other parts of the country? The prepared response was appropriate. The last thing that we need is more dead police officers in this country. The violence that they are subject to is increasing.


markslo70

These clubs have been coming to paso for decades. A justified leo response that is appropriately scaled to the threat at hand is one thing, but in this case even they admit that their cause for suspicion was abstract and that more likely than not nothing would happen. Why don’t we just put storm troopers on the streets 24/7 and make sure no one gets out of line? Its a slippery slope.