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Front Page - Friday, April 29, 2016

Mayor Berke announces funding for security cameras, early learning

Mayor Berke delivers his third State of the City address Monday at the Chattanoogan Hotel. - (Photo provided)

Mayor Andy Berke on Monday delivered his third State of the City Address to a crowd of more than 700 people, speaking out strongly against the violence Chattanooga has experienced over the last two weeks and pledging that the City will do everything in its power to bring those responsible to justice.

Speaking at the Chattanoogan Hotel, Mayor Berke said the City would spend $1 million over the next two years to invest in public safety technology like security cameras.

“Even when our officers get information about what’s happening on our streets, our outdated technology makes compiling that intelligence and distributing it across the force too time consuming and difficult,” said Mayor Berke. “We need real time information – the kind that comes when you’re monitoring what’s happening and letting officers know about it as quickly as possible.”

In addition to funding security cameras, the Mayor discussed the recent plan for new ballistics technology and the formation of a Citizen Safety Coalition to combat violence in Chattanooga and provide young people with opportunities for growth. He commended first responders for their dedication and police for their efforts in taking 754 illegal firearms off the streets.

To help bridge the achievement gap in Chattanooga, Mayor Berke announced several new initiatives with a strong focus on early childhood education.

“Our most important investments are in people,” said Mayor Berke. “We have to stop thinking about early childhood education as a luxury available only to those with the means to afford it. After all, kids who receive high quality early learning are less likely to get into trouble when they get to school, and in their later years, earn higher wages and have healthier families.”

To that end, the City will invest $100,000 in early learning scholarships through a partnership with the United Way and establish the Office of Early Learning. Both initiatives were recently recommended by the Mayor’s Council for Women, which has been working diligently since its creation at last year’s State of the City Address.

Source: Office of the Mayor