Chattanooga Police Department introducing new gun unit in June
The police department's new gun unit, expected to roll out June 1, will be tasked with tackling the ongoing gun violence battle.
A new Chattanooga Police Department unit is gearing up to help investigate shootings.
The police department's new gun unit, expected to roll out June 1, will be tasked with tackling the ongoing gun violence battle. According to a spokesperson with the department, there have been 23 shootings in Chattanooga so far this year. Only seven of those shootings have been solved or ended in an arrest. Police say one of the challenges is linking shell casings and a gun to a suspect.
Assistant Chief of Investigations Edwin McPherson says the city's gun violence is a problem among a small crowd.
"There’s only a small percentage of people committing shootings and crimes in our city," said McPherson. "Now we’ve been able to narrow our focus to those people and this is just another tool to help us go after those who are continuing to shoot in our city and commit crimes of violence."
Four investigators will lead the gun unit with a personnel member. They will focus on ballistic matches from evidence gathered at crime scenes by entering data into a shell casings database, National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN). The goal is to track down and identify weapons and the suspects who use them.
"If this team is able to build a case on the suspect or suspects involved in this we will put them in jail as a group on the federal level; we will put them in jail as a group on the state level or we will put that one individual in jail," said McPherson.
The unit will also follow up on all shots fired calls within 48 hours. So far this year, there have been 318 shots fired calls. Last year there were 1,203.
"There will be a few more doors knocked on. There will be follow-ups had. We are sending these investigators in this newly formed unit out to investigate who, what, why, when, and where," said McPherson.
McPherson tells Channel 3 the Chattanooga Police Department is the first agency in the Southeast area to put together a gun unit based off of NIBIN.