Mayor's Public Safety Campaign--Update

Reported by: Bill Mitchell

Edited by: Ashley Henderson
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Updated: 10/09/2013 6:30 pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF) -- Mayor Andy Berke says his comprehensive public safety plan for Chattanooga is on track--Six months into his administration.
Following a conference with police Chief Bobby Dodd Wednesday morning, the mayor sat down for a one-on-one interview with WDEF news 12's Bill Mitchell.

There have been 99 shootings in Chattanooga this year..and 17 murders.
All mayors promise to do something about crime---it goes with the job.
But Chattanooga got a new mayor this year who started recruiting people to help.
His battle plan is far from complete but Andy Berke brought us up-to-date on where it stands.

Andy Berke took office last April saying that Public Safety is his number one priority for Chattanooga.
The program itself has been implemented in stages.
Against a backdrop of almost nightly disturbances and shootings ....the mayor-elect held a public safety forum in March and then began meetings with community groups.
His initial plan was unveiled in May.
So where do we stand now?

MAYOR ANDY BERKE , CHATTANOOGA "We went through our first virtually 3 weeks without any type of gun violence in a long time...things are getting better, but I'm impatient ..We need to make it more sustainable."

Police says most of Chattanooga's criminal activity is gang related.
The mayor and Chief Dodd are planning to implement an anti-gang program called the "High Point initiative" in 2014.

MAYOR ANDY BERKE "The High Point initiative is really about making sure that you have contact with them, and that you explain their options...either they put down their weapons, or they have the most severe penalties."

A special prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney's office will be paid by Chattanooga and will be on the job next week.
The purpose there, is to get career criminals into federal court where they will face hard time with no parole if convicted.

The mayor says a key to a recent lull in street violence is shutting down the so-called "event halls".
At least two people have been killed near this one on east Main, and another called "Da Building" on Dodds Avenue.

MAYOR ANDY BERKE "We have made a big change through closing the event halls....both in the violence and the quality of life for those who live around them."

Mayor Berke says more changes are in the works to deal with the city's chronic, mostly inner-city crime.

You can see that entire interview on WDEF.COM.

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Here2Opine - 10/10/2013 11:09 PM
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"Chattanooga got a new mayor this year who started recruiting people to help." He dismantled the gang task force immediately and The Future Is Ours which was a great deterrent. Now he's going to bring "change" by telling the gang bangers if you don't behave you'll get into trouble???? Seriously Berke???
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