UPDATE: CPD to add 14 officers to combat gun violence in city - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: CPD to add 14 officers to combat gun violence in city

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

The Chattanooga Police Department announced a new plan to combat gun violence in the city Monday. 

CPD Chief Fred Fletcher said there could not be a more appropriate time to talk about their new plan after five people were shot and two people died over the weekend. 

Police said over the past four years, 51% of homicides in Chattanooga and 56% of non-fatal shootings involved gang members as the victim or the suspect. Through extensive study and intelligence, we believe that under 1% of the city’s population is actually involved in gang activity. 

The new strategy will include a new gun team, a specific gang unit, and a rapid response team to get to crimes quicker. Chief Fletcher said he is adding 14 officers, from 486 to 500. He said the request is in the budget proposal and submitted to the city. 

The Gun Team will consists of four officers and one sergeant. This team will be vital in getting the most value from the information provided by NIBIN in helping increase the safety of our community. The Gun Team will also work in conjunction with the Gang Unit and Rapid Response Team. 

The Chattanooga Gang Unit (CGU) will be responsible for investigating crimes committed by gang members. The CGU will also follow up on NIBIN “leads” that are the result of gang member weapon possession and locations where there have been shots fired due to gang activity.

The Rapid Response Teams require the addition of nine officers. These officers will be split across the three city sectors and combined with other existing officers in those sectors. Each sector will have seven officers completely dedicated to quick response during peak crime hours. The unit, like the others, will work in conjunction with CPD’s recently created Intelligence Unit, nascent Real Time Intelligence Center (RTIC), Patrol Commanders, Crime Analysis Unit, partner agencies, and other forms of intelligence-led policing and focused deterrence strategies to respond to various situations quickly, dynamically, and flexibility.

Including to the additional officers, CPD has added the technology of NIBIN - National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. NIBIN is a newly available ballistic technology managed by the ATF. This technology is another investigative tool in CPD’s tool belt - not in place of another tool or program - that allows the department to share information that has proven effective in addressing gun and gang violence. 

Sgt. Josh May works closely with gang investigations and says violence escalates much quicker with the use of social media, these news units will be focused on stopping it before it starts.

"What used to take weeks to turn into violence now takes literally hours," Sgt. May said, "And having someone that can respond to that and stop potential violent situations prior to them becoming violent is an absolute necessity."

More of the new plan will focus on follow up investigations to all shots fired calls, and tougher sentences for repeat criminals who are caught with guns.

Sgt. May said CPD has recovered 3,233 guns off the streets since 2013. Last year, CPD average seizing 2.7 guns a day, according to Mayor Berke.

"We seized 2.7 guns a day last year." Berke said, "What we need to do is connect these guns to the people and the crimes they commit."

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