Cody police chief meets with Hells Angels

2014-07-30T16:59:00Z 2014-08-01T16:08:07Z Cody police chief meets with Hells AngelsBy JEREMY FUGLEBERG Casper Star-Tribune The Billings Gazette

CODY, Wyo. — Cody Police Chief Perry Rockvam met Wednesday with representatives of the Hells Angels motorcycle club, seeking an “open dialogue” with the group, a police spokesman said.

“They’ve been in contact for some time,” officer John Harris, spokesman for the Cody Police Department, said at a 10 a.m. news briefing Wednesday. “The meeting was supposed to occur yesterday, but due to logistical issues they weren’t able to make it last night. They’re meeting as we speak.”

The Hells Angels are in Cody from Wednesday through Sunday for their U.S.A. Run, an annual gathering of the club’s bikers. Law enforcement officials estimated that about 400 to 500 bikers and associates would take part.

Bikers began trickling into Cody earlier this week. Harris said he wasn’t aware of any incidents or arrests.

Harris confirmed that the group’s events were centered on a site in the 700 block of Yellowstone Avenue, or on the south side of U.S. Highway 16 at the far west end of Cody.

A photo tweeted by the Park County Sheriff’s Office showed that the Hells Angels had erected a tent and a number of outhouses. A semitrailer was parked to one side.

Fourteen law enforcement agencies, including local, state and federal, are assisting Cody police during the visit of the notorious motorcycle club, long considered an organized crime syndicate by law enforcement.

The state of Wyoming is pitching in up to $184,000 toward the cost of law enforcement’s coverage of the event, Harris said.

The Hells Angels last gathered in Cody in 2006 for their Worldwide Run, and law enforcement agencies received some criticism for their blanket response. Five arrests were made, stemming from one traffic stop of the club’s members.

Harris acknowledged the significantly ramped-up law enforcement presence in Cody during this year’s event, although he declined to total the number of officers or detail all of the agencies involved. He said the 2006 run didn’t compare in size with this year’s smaller, national run.

“This is a different event, and we’re going to respond differently,” he said.

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