Chattanooga Police to Add More Technology in Fight Against Gangs

Chattanooga, Tenn. (WDEF) – The City of Chattanooga is moving ahead with new safety measures to combat violence.

The first is a plan to add technology to enhance investigations and increase prosecution.

A ballistic imaging system is the first step.

An increase in gang-related violence last month is prompting the Chattanooga police department to find new ways to fight back against criminals–especially gang members.

The department has already increased patrols and is working closely with the Hamilton county Sheriff’s Department, the ATF, FBI and DEA.

As part of a roundup in April, 23 gang members were picked up and 18 illegal firearms were seized.

Processing those firearms and hundreds of others every year has led police to join up with the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network.

CHIEF FRED FLETCHER, CHATTANOOGA POLICE DEPARMENT “What it does is provide comprehensive identification and collection of evidence that currently does not exist, or exists in very limited form.”

In fact, CPD has continued to experience a steady increase in illegal firearm seizures.

In 2015, officers seized 754 illegal firearms which is a 25% increase over 2010.

Here’s how the new technology would work.

CHIEF FLETCHER “That is the ability to connect firearms evidence to weapons and to the evidence produced by those weapons…and to shell casings produced by other weapons.”

Currently the ATF is used for most of those tests.

CHIEF FLETCHER “With the acquisition of this technology locally will allow us to expand that 50 times or even more.”

MAYOR ANDY BERKE, NEWS 12 THIS MORNING “A few weeks ago we had a terribly violent two weeks, and one of the things that we saw was that we were arresting people, we were arresting them non-stop, and then the very next day they were back on the streets, often doing back things or making threats. And so what we’ve got to do is find ways to keep them in jail.”

CHIEF FLETCHER “Ideally, it’s going to be putting new and very serious charges on more people.”

City council passed a resolution for the $228,000 system on first reading Tuesday night.

Categories: Chattanooga, Crime, Government & Politics, Local News

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