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City of Knoxville, Tennessee
Madeline Rogero, Mayor
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For Immediate Release
Successful Prosecution Of Vice Lords Gang Nets Officers Meritorious Award

January 30, 2004 - Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and Police Chief Phil Keith today awarded Knoxville Police Officers Chip Braeuner and Todd Gilreath with the department's Meritorious Award for their work in dismantle ling the Vice Lords gang. Both Officer Braeuner and Officer Gilreath have been with the department for ten years.

Chief Keith said that due to the work of both officers, twenty-three members of the street gang were indicted on federal drug conspiracy and distribution charges. Twenty individuals pled guilty due to the insurmountable evidence that had been developed and collected in the case. Three high-ranking members of the gang chose to go to trial and were convicted by a jury on December 15, 2003. Those three are facing potential life sentences.

Chief Keith said, "Both officers along with our federal partners worked extremely long hours for months monitoring and conducting surveillance of gang meetings often times at night or on weekends. Their diligence and dedication to their job led to the seizure of some of the most important evidence used during the trial."

Due to the efforts of the entire Organized Crime Unit led by Lt. Jeff Clift, as well as the federal agency partners, the arrest and prosecution of the Vice Lords gang resulted in an immediate 65% reduction in the number of aggravated assaults in the East Knoxville community.

Mayor Haslam said, "These officers' efforts has had a positive impact on the quality of life for the citizens of our community. I appreciate their dedication to their department and to the citizens of Knoxville."

Chief Keith said, "Both officers exemplified our department's philosophy of doing the right thing, doing our best every day and treating others the way we want to be treated."

"We commend them on a job well done," Chief Keith concluded.

For Immediate Release
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