Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher announced a new multilayered approach that will help support and supplement current crime fighting strategies, such as the Violence Reduction Initiative.
CPD has recently partnered with multiple agencies to start using a new technology calledNational Integrated Ballistic Information Network.
“This technology is yet another investigative tool in our tool belt that allows us to share information that is particularly effective in closing cases, particularly involving gun violence,” Fletcher said.
Authorities started using it several weeks ago, and it helps officers link firearms evidence and firearms with people.
Officers have taken3,233 guns from people in the past four years, and this new technology might be able to connect those guns with people and crimes.
Sgt. Josh May said that part of the new strategy will be broken into three components: creating a gun team to follow up on NIBIN leads, focusing a unit only on gangs, and creating rapid response teams to react to violence-which with the use of social media can evolve in hours or days, not weeks-more quickly.
Every shot that is fired will be followed up on in an in-depth manner, and the new strategy also involves aggressive prosecution for anyone who violates firearms laws.
The new strategy also means adding 14 new officers, bringing the total number on the streets to more than 500 and having twice as many people focused on gang violence.
The timeline to get this done is as soon as possible.
“I’m more impatient than anybody,” Fletcher said. “We are all personally affected and disgusted and tired of the violence. Yesterday is not soon enough.”
The VRI, which has drawn criticism, will continue, and these new strategies will enhance it, officials said.
When asked about why authorities are continuing with the VRI, Fletcher said the community is demanding it. The community wants officers to focus on the small number of people causing the violence and to do it with a finite number of taxpayer dollars.
The new strategy has a range of costs, such as about $22,000 forNIBIN and payment of the 14 new officers.
Fletcher said that this past weekend’s violence, including Johnson’s death, might have prompted retaliation that could continue.
“Our commitment remains the same: Your Chattanooga police officers will continue to put themselves between violence and the community,” Fletcher said.
Mayor Andy Berke spoke briefly at the news conference Monday, and mayoral candidate/City Councilman Larry Grohn also attended.