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.