City Officials and Residents Tackle Gang Violence During Meeting at Eastdale Recreation Center

(WDEF) Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher said,  "I’ve been going to community meetings for over two decades, and a turnout like this is almost unheard of.  This is a fantastic showing, a fantastic energy and a lot of good ideas and a lot of good emotion."
        Police Chief Fred Fletcher calls Monday night’s meeting at the Eastdale Community Center a success.  The goal was an open dialogue between the police force and the community it serves.
        Chattanooga resident Horace Hatcher attended the meeting.  He said, "The kids, if they see them in their community centers, they’re more apt to, well at first they’re going to be somewhat apprehensive, but the more they see them the more they’ll get used to them, this is what I believe."
        But it’s not just up to the police.  Eastdale recently saw a decrease in violence because of community involvement.
        Demetrus Coonrod serves as the president of the Eastdale Neighborhood Association.  She said, "It’s mostly because we’re out here in our neighborhood and we’re saying, look, no more.  We’re tired of it and we’re taking our community back."
        She sees the value in events like these for their ability to bring every stakeholder to the table.  She added, "We all have to come together, you know, on one page to have sustainable solutions.  It’s not just going to take the older generation, it’s going to take the older generation and the younger generation as a whole to come together because society is constantly changing and if we want to work together we have to implement everybody and not just be one sided."
        Chief Fletcher says employment is the central focus.  And that’s why his Violence Reduction Initiative offers those willing to leave the gang lifestyle the pathway to a good, honest job.
        The police chief explained, "What we hope is a safe community is a community is a community where people want to live and work and hire people so it’s all tied in together."
        Coonrod said, "If we can get business owners to come into our neighborhoods, real estate to, you know, invest in our neighborhoods by boosting the home ownership, and you know, just making it a proud environment to be a part of."
        Chief Fletcher also made a push to encourage those in attendance to consider the police force as a career.
Categories: Crime, Government & Politics, Hamilton County, Local News

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