Mayor-Elect dismantles Chattanooga Gang Task Force - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Mayor-Elect dismantles Chattanooga Gang Task Force

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Boyd Patterson (Courtesy: Times Free Press) Boyd Patterson (Courtesy: Times Free Press)

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - Chattanooga's Gang Task Force will soon no longer exist.

Boyd Patterson, who co-coordinates the initiative, tells Channel 3 Mayor-Elect Andy Berke has chosen to go in a different direction. Patterson was made aware on Friday that the program would be dismantled.  His resignation will come the first week of June.

In a recent interview with WRCB's David Carroll, Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Suzanne Bailey said she hoped Berke would keep the Gang Task Force intact.  I know the next mayor  wants to make changes," she said. "But I'd hate to see any interruption in the work that is going on. A lot of people have put a lot of time in this, starting at the street level. It may take a while to see the results that we want, but the groundwork has been laid. We've stopped and started too many times in the past. We get nowhere when we keep starting over."

A spokesperson for Berke wrote, "Two weeks ago Mayor-elect Berke held an open forum on Public Safety. Information from that forum helped guide the development of a public safety strategy for our city."

"This comprehensive plan will include a public safety coordinator, responsible for helping implement Mayor-elect Berke's vision for the reduction of crime in Chattanooga. While the plan will address gang related issues, and particularly gang violence, it will not include the Gang Task Force. The Mayor-elect appreciates Boyd Patterson and Fred Houser for their passion, hard work, and dedication to our city."

The statement concluded in saying, "More details on Mayor-elect Berke's comprehensive public safety plan will be announced in the coming weeks."

In a statement sent to our partners at the Times Free Press, Berke said his plans include a public safety coordinator to help put his vision to work. "While the plan will address gang-related issues, and particularly gang violence, it will not include the Gang Task Force," he added. "The Mayor-elect appreciates Boyd Patterson and Fred Houser for their passion, hard work, and dedication to our city."

 

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