MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Local and federal law enforcement agencies are fed-up and fighting back against the gang problem in Memphis and Shelby County. Monday they announced the formation of the first ever Multi-Agency Gang Unit designed to eradicate the gang problem.
The goal of the Multi-Agency Gang Unit, or MGU, is to take gang members off the streets.
Chaplain Carl Nelson knows first hand how bad the gang problem in Memphis is.
"The gang problem is real bad," Nelson said. "Back during the ice storm I was giving a speech about gang violence and someone called and told me if I gave another gang speech they would kill me."
He said the caller tried to make good on his promise. "They came to my house, shot me, and left me for dead in my driveway."
After that painful experience, the retired military man is happy local law enforcement agencies have decided to do something about the gang problem.
Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich, along with members of the MPD, Shelby County Sheriff's Office, U.S. Attorney's Office, FBI, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, want to provide the experience of being handcuffed and locked up for gang members committing crimes in Memphis and Shelby County.
Weirich stated, "The days of trying to take control of neighborhoods are over."
Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong and Shelby County Sheriff Bill Oldham both say they're determined to win this fight.
"If you're going to be involved in criminal activity and violent crime, we're gonna get you."
U.S. Attorney Ed Stanton says once they get you his office may prosecute you. If so, be prepared for a long stay in prison.
"There's no parole in the federal system," Stanton said. "Notice is served that we're taking our communities back."
The MGU is already up and running. The location of its headquarters is not being revealed but the phone number is. If you've got a tip or information regarding gang activity, you're encouraged to call (901) 222-GANG (4264).