Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, October 31, 2014

Chattanooga Violence Reduction Initiative holds call-in

The City of Chattanooga last week held a call-in as part of the Violence Reduction Initiative. Dozens of law enforcement officials, community members, social service providers, and clergy gathered to deliver a message to over 20 members of violent groups in Chattanooga. Family members of the probationers watched the call-in from another building. Although the call-in was scheduled weeks in advance, it occurred after a week of violence throughout the community.

“Our message is simple,” said Mayor Andy Berke. “The violence must stop. And if you put down your weapons, we will help you. If you don’t, we’ll go after you and everyone in your group.”

“I was encouraged and humbled by tonight,” said Chattanooga City Councilman Yusuf Hakeem. “What I saw was a group of young men who have the ability and opportunity to change their lives. I also saw a community come out to embrace these young men. What a truly powerful opportunity.”

Since Chattanooga VRI was launched in March of 2014, 61 group members have gotten a job. Twenty-three group members have enrolled in a mentorship program to receive additional guidance and support. Nine group members are taking classes to earn their GED.

“Officers have spent countless hours, not just weeks but over the last several months, talking with community members and leaders in an effort to make our neighborhoods feel and be safe,” said Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher. “We will not tolerate this violence – and tonight’s call-in is just another of our efforts to make our streets safe.”

Source: Office of Mayor Andy Berke