• Chattanooga

    Chattanooga Violence Reduction Initiative began conducting call-ins and custom notifications to street group members in 2014. "The bottom line is we don't want any of these guys killed or locked up," says project manager Paul Smith. "We need them to influence people in their neighborhoods and communities."


Chattanooga Violence Reduction Initiative (VRI) began in fall 2013 under National Network advising. Under support from the City of Chattanooga and Mayor Andy Berke, VRI conducted a first call-in in spring 2014 and has begun using routine custom notifications to head off retaliatory violence. The city has also made headway in fostering a new support and outreach structure aimed at helping group members and keeping them alive and out of prison.

Chattanooga VRI partners have also developed a victim-oriented response to violence called the Community Police Response to Victims of Violence (CPRVV). The CPRVV largely follows central tenets of custom notifications, but the messages and services are geared specifically for those people who have been directly affected by gun violence, as well as their families. 

News & Updates

Chattanooga holds first VRI call-in since Mayor announces Roddy as Chief

August 2017  |  WRCB-TV  

Chattanooga held its 11th call-in since the Violence Reduction Initiative began in 2014 and the first since Mayor Andy Berke named Deputy Chief David Roddy Chattanooga’s top cop. Along with Chief Roddy, the meeting's speakers included Public Safety Coordinator Troy Rogers, a federal prosecutor, an attorney with the DA’s office, a former gang member, and a mother who's lost a son to gang violence almost two years ago.

Tags: Chattanooga Group Violence Intervention

Cook: Traumatic stress is changing the brains of children in Chattanooga

August 2016  |  Chattanooga Times Free Press  

Trauma may be a top public health priority and developing new solutions to help people cope may reduce violent crime. 

Tags: Chattanooga Group Violence Intervention Support and Outreach

Mothers hope stories of their pain prevent future violence in Chattanooga

May 2016  |  Chattanooga Times Free Press  

Healing from Both Sides is a community support group for those who have lost loved ones to group and gang violence in Chattanooga, TN. The group reaches out to families who have lost children to violence, as well as those whose sons and daughters are in jail after acts of violence.

Tags: Chattanooga Group Violence Intervention Support and Outreach

Mother of murder victim on Chattanooga gang war: “My son would be disappointed”

April 2016  |  ABC 9  

Brenda Johnson, of Chattanooga, regularly speaks at VRI call-ins as she seeks to end gun violence by telling her story to young men in her community. 

Tags: Chattanooga Group Violence Intervention Reconciliation Support and Outreach

Chattanooga police to embed social workers with officers

September 2015  |  Chattanooga Times Free Press  

"The Chattanooga Police Department will use $600,000 in grant money to hire social workers who will embed with officers, respond to calls and help victims through the trauma of a crime, according to police. nChief Fred Fletcher hopes the hires will fundamentally change the way officers support victims of crime and push the department to become more "victim-centered."

Tags: Chattanooga Group Violence Intervention Reconciliation Support and Outreach

“The Task Force,” Episode 7

November 2014  |  Nooga.com  

In this podcast, David Morton recommends David Kennedy’s book, Don’t Shoot, and discusses his recent experience as a third-party observer during one of Chattanooga’s Violence Reduction Initiative call-ins. 

Tags: Chattanooga Group Violence Intervention

Kennedy: Don’t give up, Chattanooga’s anti-violence strategy will work

November 2014  |  Times Free Press  

David Kennedy writes in the Times Free Press outlining why Chattanooga VRI was developed and urging the city to stay dedicated to the strategy. "It remains the best—if still an imperfect—route to preventing violence and incarceration among those most likely to be touched by both; helping law enforcement to do their job in a way that does not harm, and instead strengthens the communities they serve; and supporting the community to step forward, stand together with law enforcement, and reset its own public safety standards," Kennedy says. "We have yet to see a city where this has been done well and the streets have not responded--if not immediately, then sooner rather than later. Chattanooga is, and will be, no different."

Tags: Chattanooga Group Violence Intervention

AUSA Christopher Poole Recognized For Work With Chattanooga Violence Reduction Initative

October 2014  |  The Chattanoogan  

Last week, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher D. Poole was recognized by the National Association of Former U.S. Attorneys with the Exceptional Service Award for his work with Chattanooga's Violence Reduction Initiative, initiated by the city in 2013. U.S. Attorney Killian congratulated him, “The Eastern District of Tennessee is fortunate to have many quality federal prosecutors. I am proud that Assistant U.S. Attorney Poole was recognized for his exceptional work with this important initiative with the city of Chattanooga.”

Tags: Chattanooga Group Violence Intervention

Helping hands vs. handcuffs

July 2014  |  Times Free Press  

In the five months since Chattanooga's Violence Reduction Initiative began, 58 of the city's most violent offenders have landed jobs, and with the  help of VRI, 42 have held onto those jobs.  Police and community leaders also met face to face with 26 people to deliver custom notifications -- a personalized letter from Chief Fred Fletcher.

Tags: Chattanooga Group Violence Intervention Custom Notifications