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Four months after the city's gang task force was disbanded, its former coordinator, Boyd Patterson, is still going to gang conferences and seeking to help fight gangs.
"You can't spend five minutes with some of these kids and not see how needy they are," said Patterson. "So we have a responsibility to do our best to address that."
Patterson, 44, is now an assistant district attorney for Hamilton County. He spoke while attending the 2013 Tennessee Gang Investigators Association Conference in Memphis.
Patterson is also in the running to become a judge in the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, Eastern Division. Patterson was among only three candidates who met with Gov. Bill Haslam this month. Patterson said he could receive a call at any time notifying him of Haslam's decision.
In his role as assistant district attorney, Patterson said he's looking at involving curfew laws to assist youths who may be at risk for violence and crime.
"You have to get the kids early," he said.
If a child is 16 or 17 and out past midnight, that's an indication that he needs some structure, Patterson said. And enforcing a curfew law or a truancy law on a child may be a way for the court to intervene on the child's behalf before he commits a serious crime.
Since the gang task force folded, Patterson has designed a Web page for the Children's Advocacy Center of Hamilton County. The site, www.5000angels.com, offers a way for people to write encouraging messages to children who have been victims of physical or sexual abuse.
Patterson's book, "Trial Guide: 404(b) Evidence by Topic," went into its third printing this year, and an app that he wrote for the iPad in 2011 has been nominated for the second time for the National Law Journal's Best Trial Preparation App.
This update was written by staff writer Yolanda Putman. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6431.