Hundreds of Hells Angels are roaring into Saskatoon and police are watching to make sure the bikers are on their best behaviour.
As many as 500 Hells Angels are expected in the Prairie city over the weekend for a national rally.
“It’s not just a motorcycle gang, it’s a criminal organization,” said police spokeswoman Alyson Edwards.
However, Ms. Edwards said police don’t expect difficulties this weekend. She said that’s because the group is more organized than a street gang that would be more likely to commit random assaults, break-and-enters or create trouble at local bars.
“This is a highly organized event,” she said.
“We anticipate that there will be no reason for this group to be embarrassed by any type of incidents. If there is anything that occurs, I would suggest that it would be the fringe elements of the group that would responsible for that.”
Still, extra officers from Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and the RCMP have been brought in to help.
Among them is Detective Sergeant Len Isnor with the Ontario Provincial Police. Det. Sgt. Isnor has been in biker enforcement for 17 years and said he has been to more than 200 Hells Angels events.
“Usually when they come on these events, they’re under the microscope and they are on the best of their best behaviour,” he said.
“They’re coming here basically to show their strength and to send a message to the people that Saskatoon is our area and we’re coming here to party and nobody is going to bother us. But they’ll be on the best of behaviour because they don’t want us...saying that they are a bunch of bad boys.”
Det. Sgt. Isnor echoed Ms. Edwards’s comments that police aren’t expecting any problems, but he added any time Hells Angels go to a community there is concern.
Saskatoon police are prepared, he said.
“They’ll have a plan for every scenario that will basically unfold. Hopefully everything will be fine and I’m quite confident it is. They’ll come, they’ll party and they’ll do their thing and they’ll leave on Sunday,” he said.
“That’s what we’re predicting and I anticipate that’s what’s going to happen.”
Morris Bodnar, a Saskatoon defence lawyer who has been put on retainer by the Hells Angels, said the group will have meetings and “do some partying and nothing more.”
“I think that there will be very little going on,” said Mr. Bodnar. “I think most of the hype has been created by the police themselves showing a force here, but the Hells Angels are not looking for trouble. They’re not trying to create trouble here and everything is going to be quiet.
“There may be the odd person that maybe drinks a bit too much, but nothing more than that.”
Mr. Bodnar said he has never been to a meeting and could not say what will go on behind closed doors.
But he insisted Saskatoon residents shouldn’t fear their presence.
“I can tell you from experience when Hells Angels are around the people of Saskatoon are probably the safest people, in the safest city this weekend in Canada,” he said.
When asked why, Mr. Bodnar said: “Because the Hells Angels will do nothing to cause problems. They may allay any fears that other people have and other criminals may say, ‘Oh, gee the Hells Angels are in town, we better not do anything.’ ”