United anti-gangs effort eyed

United anti-gangs effort eyed

August 10th, 2012 by Ansley Haman in News

Boyd Patterson, coordinator of the City of Chattanooga Gang Task Force

Photo by Doug Strickland/Times Free Press.

The Georgia state line might be less of a barrier to gang enforcement if Hamilton County commissioners approve an agreement between the Hamilton and Walker county sheriff's offices.

The agreement would help with intelligence sharing, joint operations and other types of collaboration.

Hamilton Sheriff Jim Hammond and Chattanooga Gang Task Force Coordinator Boyd Patterson presented the proposed agreement to county commissioners Thursday during a morning agenda session. Commissioners indicated they will support the resolution in their regular meeting on Aug. 15.

"Gang members do not respect county lines, city lines," Patterson said.

The agreement is part of a broader effort launched last year to form a Chattanooga Area Gang Enforcement team, or CAGE. Other agencies include Bradley County; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Agency; the U.S. attorney's office; and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Hammond said he and recently re-elected Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson agreed to work together. But interstate activity isn't the only problem because there also are issues with Chattanooga-based gangs, he said.

"As the city pressures in one specific area, we see more activity in unincorporated areas," he said.

Commissioner Jim Fields asked about a provision in the proposal about each county's responsibility for its respective actions in each state.

County Attorney Rheubin Taylor said that Tennessee's Governmental Tort Liability Act would not cover official Hamilton County actions taken in Georgia.

"Any actions that officers would take, we are responsible for that," he said.