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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Department of Justice

United States Attorney James R. Dedrick Eastern District of Tennessee


CHATTANOOGA POLICE OFFICERS HONORED AS PROJECT SAFE NEIGHBORHOODS OFFICERS OF THE YEAR

[CHATTANOOGA, Tenn] Chattanoooga Police Officers Matthew Hennessee and Randy Poland, each of whom is currently serving as Task Force Officer for the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Streets Task Force, were selected as the Project Safe Neighborhoods Officers of the Year for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Southern Division. Both officers were honored in a ceremony at Coolidge Park Pavilion in Chattanooga on Friday, September 25, 2009.

Investigator Hennessee has worked at the Chattanooga Police Department for fourteen years and with the FBI Safe Streets Task Force since May of 2001. October marks Investigator Poland’s twentieth anniversary with the Chattanooga Police Department. Investigator Poland has also been with the FBI Safe Streets Task Force since January 2000.

Investigators Hennessee and Poland have investigated dozens of federal violent crime cases in the Eastern District of Tennessee, including bank robberies, Hobbs Act robberies (armed robberies of convenience stores, restaurants, and other businesses), and various drug and firearms offenses.

United States AttorneyJames R. “Russ” Dedrick said, “the combined investigations of Investigators Hennessee and Poland resulted in the indictment of over twenty five federal cases in 2008 alone. Many of these indictments were of Chattanooga’s most dangerous street gang leaders. Investigators Hennessee and Poland have been instrumental in the violent crime reduction initiative spear-headed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and are model investigators. These two individuals truly make Chattanooga a safer place to live. Their superior investigative skills, thoroughness, professionalism, hard work, and dedication made them a natural choice to jointly receive the 2009 Project Safe Neighborhoods Officer of the Year Award.”

PSN is a comprehensive national strategy that creates local partnerships with law enforcement agencies to effectively enforce existing gun laws. It provides more options to prosecutors, allowing them to utilize local, state, and federal laws to ensure that criminals who commit gun crimes face tough sentences. PSN gives each federal district the flexibility it needs to focus on individual challenges that a specific community faces.

Under PSN, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee has implemented a gun violence reduction strategy based on five key elements: (1) Partnership with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in the district to coordinate community programs and review and prepare gun cases for prosecution in the most appropriate forum; (2) Development of a strategic plan to prosecute violent gun offenders and intensify federal gun law enforcement using state-of-the-art technology and intelligence gathering techniques such as crime mapping, tracing of seized guns and ballistic technology to help connect bullets and casings to the guns that fired them; (3) Working with ATF, the National District Attorneys Association, and local law enforcement to conduct innovative regional cross-training involving prosecutors and agents participating in gun crime enforcement; (4) Working with local communities to increase awareness of PSN, promote community involvement and send a deterrent message; and (5) Measuring the impact that this renewed effort is having on reducing crime and the long-term effect that this program is having in the community.

Since the inception of the program in 2002, 1,176 defendants have been convicted in the Eastern District of Tennessee for federal firearms and related violations.

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