GREEN BAY - A Green Bay business is trying to help former gang members turn their lives around by removing their gang tattoos for free.
We first introduced to you 21-year-old Aaron Olson in our FOX 11 Investigates report on gangs in Green Bay.
Olson says he used to be a member of the Gangster Disciples. That's one of the 40 gangs Green Bay police have documented in the city.
Lt. Gary Richgels from the Green Bay Police Department's gang identification unit says while Green Bay does have gangs, it's not the same as it is in bigger cities.
"There are small pockets all over the place. So one, we don't see a group trying to take the stronghold of any neighborhood," Richgels said.
Olson says he's had enough of the gang lifestyle.
When asked why, he replied, "Because I've got a kid coming."
Now, the father-to-be is getting all of his facial and neck tattoos removed.
FOX 11 Investigates asked Olson if he regrets the tattoos. He replied, "Yeah. I can't get a job with them. I can go in and apply online. Most places take online applications. And they'll ask you to come in for an interview with your work experience because I have good work experience. Then I come in and they look at me and go, 'We'll give you a call.' And then they never call. If you call them they say it's already full. They don't want someone working for them looking like this."
Rob Jensen is the co-owner Green Bay Laser Center. The company started a free tattoo removal program for former gang members six years ago. It was modeled after a similar program in Minnesota.
"We thought it'd be great to duplicate it in the area. Just give today's youth a fighting chance of getting a job," Jensen said.
Jensen says the removal process is about as painful as getting a tattoo. He also says it takes at least five or six laser treatments to get rid of most tattoos. Those treatments have to be done about six weeks apart.
Since the program started, Jensen says he has helped about a dozen people get rid of their gang tattoos.