Chattanooga officials eye new social service provider proposals for Violence Reduction Initiative

Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher points to the city council, but said he blames himself if any gang plan is not working.

Chattanooga leaders soon will consider new social service provider proposals for the Violence Reduction Initiative, the city's flagship gang deterrent program.

The VRI, launched by Mayor Andy Berke and police Chief Fred Fletcher in March 2014, seeks to offer violent gang members a choice: leave the gangs and violence or suffer the consequences of heavy-handed justice. Since fall 2014, Hope for the Inner City has served as a taxpayer-funded gateway for gang members who want peace instead of violence.

photo Chattanooga City Councilman Larry Grohn listens to a presentation on the city's wastewater infrastructure during an afternoon agenda session at the City Council building Tuesday, March 29, 2016, in Chattanooga, Tenn. The council voted Tuesday to withdraw its subpoena of District Attorney Neal Pinkston, which the council issued after Pinkston's refusal to appear before the council to discuss the city's violence reduction initiative.