published Sunday, August 25th, 2013

Former gang task force coordinator Boyd Patterson is still seeking to help fight gangs

Boyd Patterson, coordinator of the City of Chattanooga Gang Task Force, speaks at a "Stop the Violence" gang summit and breakfast and hosted by the community development group Hope for the Inner City on Saturday.
Boyd Patterson, coordinator of the City of Chattanooga Gang Task Force, speaks at a "Stop the Violence" gang summit and breakfast and hosted by the community development group Hope for the Inner City on Saturday.
Photo by Doug Strickland.

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Four months after the city's gang task force was disbanded, its former coordinator, Boyd Patterson, is still going to gang conferences and seeking to help fight gangs.

"You can't spend five minutes with some of these kids and not see how needy they are," said Patterson. "So we have a responsibility to do our best to address that."

Patterson, 44, is now an assistant district attorney for Hamilton County. He spoke while attending the 2013 Tennessee Gang Investigators Association Conference in Memphis.

Patterson is also in the running to become a judge in the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, Eastern Division. Patterson was among only three candidates who met with Gov. Bill Haslam this month. Patterson said he could receive a call at any time notifying him of Haslam's decision.

In his role as assistant district attorney, Patterson said he's looking at involving curfew laws to assist youths who may be at risk for violence and crime.

"You have to get the kids early," he said.

If a child is 16 or 17 and out past midnight, that's an indication that he needs some structure, Patterson said. And enforcing a curfew law or a truancy law on a child may be a way for the court to intervene on the child's behalf before he commits a serious crime.

Since the gang task force folded, Patterson has designed a Web page for the Children's Advocacy Center of Hamilton County. The site, www.5000angels.com, offers a way for people to write encouraging messages to children who have been victims of physical or sexual abuse.

Patterson's book, "Trial Guide: 404(b) Evidence by Topic," went into its third printing this year, and an app that he wrote for the iPad in 2011 has been nominated for the second time for the National Law Journal's Best Trial Preparation App.

This update was written by staff writer Yolanda Putman. Contact her at yputman@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6431.

about Yolanda Putman...

Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...

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