Morris County Sheriff's Office Bureau of Corrections Detective Corporal Edwin L. Santana Lectured As Expert On Gangs At New York Conference
Published on May 01, 2019
Morris County Sheriff's Office Bureau of Corrections Detective Corporal Edwin L. Santana was so intrigued by the origins and culture of gangs in the 1990's that he sought the knowledge of experts at Riker's Island, the locale of New York City's main jail complex.
From left, Morris County Sheriff's Office Bureau of Corrections Undersheriff Alan J. Robinson, Bureau of Corrections Detective Corporal Edwin L. Santana, and Bureau of Corrections Warden Chris Klein.
Today, and for years in the past, Detective Corporal Santana has been recognized internationally as an expert on gangs. Coming full-circle, he was a presenter on the East Coast Latin Kings and Bloods at a two-day conference in April that was hosted by the New York City Department of Correction, which operates Riker's Island.
Detective Corporal Santana was one of just two presenters at the First Annual Security Risk Groups Conference that is not from the New York City Department of Correction.
I went from being a student of gangs who was curious about the origins and trends to going to this conference and sharing my knowledge with officers who work at Riker's Island, Detective Corporal Santana said.
Presenting at the New York conference on April 25 and April 26 was a personal triumph for him, though he has lectured in at least 28 states and is presenting at an upcoming conference in Spokane, Washington. In 2018, he testified as an expert witness at a federal gang racketeering trial in North Carolina.
Morris County Sheriff's Office Bureau of Corrections Detective Corporal Edwin L. Santana, right, with Robert Almonte, former United States Marshal for the Western District of Texas, at the First Annual Security Risk Group Conference hosted by the New York City Department of Correction in April.
Detective Corporal Santana was vetted by the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of North Carolina, and then recognized as a United Blood Nation and 9 Trey Gangster Blood expert witness for the trial.
His superiors at the Morris County Correctional Facility “ Undersheriff Alan J. Robinson and Warden Christopher Klein “ are fully supportive and proud of the knowledge and insights Detective Corporal Santana has gained. Undersheriff Robinson said the intelligence that Santana passes on makes the job safer for other law enforcement officers.
He's probably one of the most respected gang experts in the country, Warden Klein said.
It takes years, it takes decades, to have this profound depth of knowledge, Undersheriff Robinson said.
Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon commended Detective Corporal Santana for the passion and clarity he exudes when speaking on his specialty.
Gangs bring crime, violence, instability and fear into communities, and Detective Corporal Santana is a proven expert on recognizing how and where they have infiltrated, Sheriff Gannon said.
Now in his 23rd year as a Morris County Corrections Officer, Detective Corporal Santana said the Latin Kings was the first gang to be recognized in the 1990's at the Morris County Correctional Facility when it was located in Morristown. By 2000, with the opening of a new facility in Morris Township, inmates affiliated with the Bloods, Crips, Hell's Angels and others were being incarcerated, he said.
Gangs that originated in California and Chicago are now part of the subculture in New Jersey, he said.
I've always been interested in how an ideology that starts in Southern California makes its way to New Jersey, he said.
All gangs, he said, are rooted in the same desires and purport to offer these benefits: love, commitment, money and power.
Detective Corporal Santana is a founding member of the Morris County Gang Intelligence Unit and currently is organizing a conference to be held at the end of May at the College of St. Elizabeth. He presently is the East Coast Gang Investigators Association's New Jersey Chapter President, and previously was the International Latino Gangs Investigators Association Vice President.