Community members speak out against violence - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Community members speak out against violence

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - It was standing room only at the East Dale Community Center as community members asked questions about if the Violence Reduction Initiative was working and what they could do as a community to help stop it.

Chief Fletcher said community involvement like what he saw Monday night will make a big difference.

"I've been going to community meetings for 25 years and this is about as big of an attendance as I've ever seen at one," said Chief Fletcher. "This is the sign of a strong and robust community when people turn out like this."

Dozens filled the center with questions concerning the future of their neighborhood.

They say violence is filling their streets, with one shooting after another happening in their backyards, and they want it to stop.

Chief Fletcher explained what their efforts with the Violence Reduction Initiative are producing. He says their research is helping pinpoint who could be involved with crime next and that allows him to place officers in the right place at the right time.

"We had a police officer on sight when the crimes occurred," said Fletcher. But he says while they try to prevent them from ever taking place; “The bad news is many of these criminals are so brazen, they don't care that we're there."

Fletcher says things are already taking a turn for the better. As evidenced with the outcry for change, he says with all of their voices together, believes more change will come.

"The violence has to stop. The community, we are tired of it. We're tired of losing our sons, brothers and fathers. The violence has to stop," said Fletcher.

This community is taking it upon themselves to make sure of it.

"We're out there in the neighborhood saying it's time to stop," said Demetrus Coonrod, President of the East Dale Neighborhood Association.

"We can't rely solely on our police force to take care of our problems. We have to work as a society and as a community to bring the violence to an end.

The community has meetings every fourth Monday of the month. They plan to continue to work together as a community to help end the violence.

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