Council members want to hear VRI's "successes and failures" in T - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Council members want to hear VRI's "successes and failures" in Tuesday meeting

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Several leaders with Chattanooga’s Violence Reduction Initiative (VRI) will be at a city council panel discussion Tuesday afternoon to discuss crime and safety. 

Councilman Chip Henderson, who is the chairman of the Public Safety Committee, said the meeting is the result of a letter Councilman Yusuf Hakeem wrote in February in which he said VRI has failed in the city.

“We need to evaluate the positives and the negatives, find out what’s working and what’s not working and evaluate the program from there,” Henderson said of Tuesday’s panel discussion.

Channel 3 has confirmed Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher, Juvenile Court Judge Rob Philyaw, Public Safety Coordinator Paul Smith, Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Poole, and Hope for the Inner City’s Vincent Boozer all plan to be in attendance. District Attorney Neal Pinkston has also been invited.

Fletcher will also give an annual report that covers all safety and department aspects. According to Police Spokesperson Kyle Miller, the City of Chattanooga experienced 1,386 fewer crimes reported in 2015 and an 11 percent overall reduction in crime.

But the numbers of shootings and homicides continue to increase.

According to Channel 3’s records, there have been 30 shooting incidents this year in Chattanooga. At this time last year, there were 23 shooting incidents in the city. In 2014, there were 24 reported shooting incidents as of March 22.

Additionally, six people have been killed this year in Chattanooga, which is two more than this time last year. Police have made no arrests in any of the murders.

Earlier this month, Chattanooga’s Public Safety Coordinator Paul Smith announced he’s leaving the city to work at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

Chattanooga city leaders say they plan to replace Smith in the coming weeks.

Tuesday’s meeting is open to the public and it begins at 3:00pm in city council chambers.

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