Crime Prevention Expert Helping City Says Times Free Press Actions "Undermining Violence Prevention Efforts And Are Extremely Dangerous"

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A crime prevention expert helping Mayor Andy Berke carry out a local High Point Initiative said in an email to officials of the Chattanooga Times Free Press that interviewing and giving the full names of those cooperating in the effort is "extremely dangerous."

David M. Kennedy, an official of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control, said the newspaper's action "are undermining Chattanooga’s violence prevention efforts."

Times Fress Press officials, in the Sunday paper, defended their coverage, saying that the public had a right to know details of the crime fighting effort.

Here is the Kennedy email:

From: David Kennedy <dakennedy@jjay.cuny.edu>
Date: Saturday, March 22, 2014 at 2:25 PM
To: "jtaylor@timesfreepress.com" <jtaylor@timesfreepress.com>, "agerber@timesfreepress.com" < agerber@timesfreepress.com>
Subject: The Times Free Press and the Chattanooga Violence Reduction Initiative

Dear Ms. Gerber and Mr. Taylor,

Over the last several days, in its coverage of the launch of Chattanooga’s Violence Reduction Initiative, the Chattanooga Times Free Press has – against our advice to the city, the city’s guidance to the media, standard national practice, and all common sense – sent two reporters and a photographer to the first group member call-in, stopped and attempted to interview those called in as they left the event, and most recently printed their full names.  The paper’s actions are undermining Chattanooga’s violence prevention efforts and are in fact extremely dangerous.  

·      Those called in are on probation and parole and are required to attend as a condition of their court supervision.  It is hugely inappropriate, and a violation of trust, to put them in a position where that exposes them to media.  The press should no more be there than it should shoulder into a one-on-one office visit between a probationer and his probation officer.

·      Supervisees who know they may end up on camera and named in the paper are less likely to attend future call-ins.  They and their groups will not hear the warnings and offers of support the city is delivering and are more likely to be sanctioned for noncompliance.  The Chattanooga Times Free Press is enhancing the chances that these individuals will be hurt and go to jail.

·      Street offenders (and many others in their communities) tend to lump the outside world into one large “them.”  It is beyond their comprehension that the city and the police cannot stop reporters from interrogating them, asking them their names or sticking a camera in their faces.  The paper is undercutting the trust in the authorities the Violence Reduction Initiative is carefully designed to produce.

·      Street offenders know only one situation in which their peers are brought into conversations with law enforcement and leave free men: when they snitch.  Snitches get killed.  The Chattanooga Times Free Press is putting the men who chose to attend the call-in at enormous personal risk.

I trust that these consequences were unintended, and that your organization will not produce them again going forward.

David M. Kennedy

_____________
David M. Kennedy
Director
Center for Crime Prevention and Control
John Jay College of Criminal Justice


St. Elmo Check Into Cash Employee Robbed At Gunpoint

A Check Into Cash clerk was robbed at gunpoint on Monday evening. Investigators with the Chattanooga Police Department responded at 6:34 p.m. to a robbery from a business at 3801 Tennessee Ave. Upon arrival, officers spoke with the store clerk, and the  clerk reported speaking with the suspect who then brandished a pistol.  The suspect walked the clerk ... (click for more)

Some Closings And Delays Set Tuesday Due To Inclement Weather

Marion, Grundy and Polk schools are closed Tuesday due to the expected inclement weather. Hamilton County Schools will be on a two-hour delay on   Tuesday . School Age Child Care will be closed. 12-month employees will report on regular schedule.  Walker County Transit will be closed Tuesday . Walker County Schools will be on a two-hour delay. (click for more)

The City Failed To Watch The Chattanooga History Museum Dollars - And Response (3)

The tell tale signs of the History Museum's folly have been evident for years. When I was a former member of City Council I interviewed Dr. Daryl Black, Ph.D. to determine if I should argue for or against the annual funding of his organization. His interview, the multi-year history of administrative non-performance (despite consistent repetitive funding), and a review of the organizational ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Momma Bears Roar

If I could count Hamilton County’s best educators on one hand, Normal Park Elementary Principal Jill Levine would be the biggest finger. What she and her faculty and a dazzling commitment from both her students and parents have accomplished is an educational dream. I am told people literally move to North Chattanooga just so their children will be zoned for the award-winning school. ... (click for more)

Bradley Edges Cleveland, 88-86, On Copeland Game-Winner In Fourth OT

(Story will be updated) CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Thirty-two minutes were not enough to settle the latest Cleveland-Bradley Central basketball showdown. The two bitter rivals needed 16 more before junior Cole Copeland’s turn-around jumper in the fourth overtime to provide the winning points in a colossal 88-86 District 5-3A barn-burner before a capacity crowd at Jim Smiddy Arena ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Softball Picked To Win SoCon Title

The Chattanooga Mocs have been selected as the preseason favorite to win the 2016 Southern Conference softball title by the league's head coaches. Senior second baseman Criket Blanco was named Preseason First-Team All-SoCon and sophomore pitcher Cori Jennings, senior shortstop Alyssa Taylor and senior outfielder Sam Taylor were selected to the Preseason Second-Team All-SoCon. ... (click for more)