Chattanooga Police Hope To Connect With Community

      It was an event billed to be about community safety, but the emphasis was on the community, gaining trust with the police.
      "It’s a two way handshake, and very obviously the community is reaching out to us here. We like to provide as many opportunities, in as many different parts of town as we can," said Chattanooga Chief of Police Fred Fletcher.
      "When you have a seamless interaction between police officers and the community, officers can better know what is going on and prevent bad things from happening before they occur," added Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke.
       Engaging the community is part of the battle the Chattanooga Police department is fighting in their effort to curb gang violence. They hope events like this community safety fair will show that officers are there to help in crisis situations.
      "Our community is very committed to help keep each other safe and we are committed to help them be safe. We’ve recently filed charges against people that have made threats against folks that have come forward. It’s a partnership, it’s a teamwork, and we had a very brave courageous community, in addition to the police officers and everybody wants their neighbors, their streets, their communities to be and feel safe and we want to help them do that," said Fletcher.
      Community members believe police are doing a better job of sending a positive message into area neighborhoods, but need to do more to end the code of silence that leaves groups fearful of aiding police in their efforts to solve crimes.
      "The silence code, the fear of retaliation, if I speak up they may come after me, they may come after my family, sort of that code of silence I think is just hard to break," said community member Vernicia Smith.