Berke does away with Gang Task Force; Councilman Rico speaks out - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Berke does away with Gang Task Force; Councilman Rico speaks out

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB)  --  In a written statement Friday Mayor-Elect Andy Berke announced the city's Gang Task Force would be no more.

In a press release Berke says the Public Safety forum helped guide his decision on a new public safety strategy. However, he has yet to open up about any details only saying the comprehensive plan will include a public safety coordinator to help implement his vision for the reduction in crime.

"This is the thing that disappoints me is they didn't really give it time to work," Councilman Manny Rico says.

Rico voted in favor of the $75,000, 173 page Gang Assessment and the Gang Task Force which recently was aided by $500,000 from the city for the "Future is Ours" initiative.

"Look, if we hadn't done that and something happened we'd all been in trouble," Rico says.

Rico says Berke's decision didn't come as a surprise but it may hurt the learning curve for the new administration.

"Its almost down to reinventing the wheel," says Rico. "It seemed like they were getting somewhere with this. I'm really kind of disappointed they didn't give it a chance. The money we had allotted, the $75,000 got us open to get grant money to keep it going. So yea, I'm kind of disappointed."

Channel 3 tried numerous times to reach Berke for comment Monday. His administration would only say our questions would be answered in the coming weeks.

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