published Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Mayor-elect Andy Berke creates new position for public safety

Mayor-elect Andy Berke addresses the audience at McGilvray Gymnasium in this file photo.
Mayor-elect Andy Berke addresses the audience at McGilvray Gymnasium in this file photo.
Photo by Connor Choate /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Mayor-elect Andy Berke created a position of public safety coordinator to oversee a comprehensive crime strategy, but details about the job are few.

Berke has not revealed details of his strategy but in previous interviews he talked about using anti-crime programs employed in other cities to target drug dealers and gang members.

Qualifications and salary for the coordinator of public safety have not been made public. However, the coordinator will not oversee the police and fire departments, Lacie Stone, spokeswoman for Berke, said in an email.

The following job responsibilities were outlined in an email from Stone:

• Coordinate efforts to provide opportunities to at-risk youth;

• Grow community partnerships with organizations to move toward common outcomes;

• Improve data collection efforts in city government and provide support to community agencies to allow coordinated data collection;

• Monitor progress of implementing policies within the mayor's comprehensive crime strategy;

• Deliver updates on the strategy to the mayor and staff.

Wednesday, Berke let most of the city's department heads go.

Among those let go was Boyd Patterson, who has been coordinator of the city's Gang Task Force. Patterson said he was told on Friday that the gang task force would be dismantled when Berke takes office.

As for Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd, Berke said he would "continue his discussions with ... Dodd on his future with the city and how to implement the most effective public safety measures to make our city safer."

Contact staff writer Beth Burger at bburger@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6406. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/abburger.

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