CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee -(WDEF) Days after mayor elect Andy Berke announced the disbandment of the gang task force, many people are voicing concerns over the legitimacy of the both the decision and the task force itself.
Berke wants to tackle the city's gang problem in a different way than the gang task force he recently disbanded.
WDEF talked to several people in gang affiliated neighborhoods to see if people thought it was good idea to get rid of the task force without a solid plan to replace it.
"Before disbanding it, they should have thought of other ways to do something about this problem instead of disbanding it and not saying anything about it," said one resident who wished not to be identified out of fear of gang retaliation.
Several city employees who wished not to be identified for fear of retaliation or loosing their jobs all said the gang task force was a waste of time and tax payer money. They basically called it a failure.
One woman who agreed to talk to WDEF as long as her identity was not revealed for fear of retaliation said she felt the task force never got a chance to be 100 percent effective in dealing with the gang problems plaguing the streets.
"How do we know they were a failure? I don't think that they even think they had the chance to really do anything. Compared to where we were at, I think they've come a long ways," she said.
Mayor-elect Berke was not available to comment on the matter but a spokesperson from his office release a statement that reads-
'This comprehensive plan will include a public safety coordinator, responsible for helping implement Mayor-elect Berke’s vision for the reduction of crime in Chattanooga. While the plan will address gang related issues, and particularly gang violence, it will not include the Gang Task Force. The Mayor-elect appreciates Boyd Patterson and Fred Houser for their passion, hard work, and dedication to our city.'
The statement never got into specifics on how the mayor actually plans to reduce violence on the streets. Despite the lack of details, some people say they are willing to give Berke the benefit of the doubt.
"Lets give him chance and see what happens. Even though he's fired the task force and I don't understand that," aid the woman who wished not to identified.
"It's going to take a mayor who's going to be able to put his foot down and really get a hold of this city and just stop the violence," said Daniel Caperton of East Chattanooga.
WDEF spoke to former gang task force coordinator Boyd Patterson and he said they have until early June to wrap up business.