Dashing across a state or county line may not offer any protection for gang members from now on.
A formal agreement signed today legalizes a Mutual Aid agreement between Hamilton and Walker county authorities.
It's the next step in an overall plan developed by Chattanooga's Gang Task Force.
BOYD PATTERSON, COORDINATOR GANG TASK FORCE "Gang members don't respect state lines, don't respect county lines or city lines. This allows law enforcement officers in the participating agreement to follow their cases..to follow those cases across state lines as well."
This focus is on gangs, as Chattanooga-Hamilton county officers engage in joint operations with Walker county.
The Tennessee-Georgia Cross Designation agreement is a legal document signed by all parties.
How will it impact gangs?
SHERIFF STEVE WILSON, WALKER COUNTY "Hopefully either arrest or locate or flush-out who we need to move out. And I think once gang members know that, they'll have to find another way to hide."
SHERIFF JIM HAMMOND, HAMILTON COUNTY "We live in a very mobile society, and we have to use different tools to accomplish that. This agreement will allow us to operate much more unimpeded."
The various agencies will work together under the Chattanooga Area Gang Enforcement team..known as CAGE.
Information will be shared with investigative units on both sides of the state line.
MAYOR RON LITTLEFIELD, CHATTANOOGA "There have been times in the past, and we all know about it, when the bad guys and the occasional bad girl, knew where the border was and they could go and escape prosecution. That's no longer the case."
Details on prosecuting criminals may be a little harder to work out.
BOYD PATTERSON "As far as prosecutors are concerned, the laws are very different..I think that will probably be further down..as far as building out the collaboration between the counties."
Patterson is charged with preparing an overall assessment of the gang problems in the tri-state area and laying out a master plan.
Patterson says the final plan to counter gang activity will involve all parts of the community--- including schools, religious groups, civic groups, government and law enforcement.