#3. Community Police Academy – Gangs, TITANS, and NIBIN

For 12 weeks, Sherard Edington is taking part in the Community Police Academy offered by the Nashville Police Department. Through lectures and demonstrations, he is learning about the inner workings of law enforcement in Davidson County. These are his reports.

Dear Friends,

On Tuesday, my third class in the Community Police Academy was all about gangs. We also heard about ballistics and TITANS, but it was really about gangs. Yes, Nashville (and Middle Tennessee) has gangs—street gangs and motorcycle gangs. There are a few street gangs that are well-organized with recognizable hierarchies and enforced disciple. Sadly, most gangs, however, are just groups of disaffected 16-year-old boys who hang out together and commit crimes.

The sergeant did tell a wonderful story about the infamous Moosehead Gang. He explained that he got a call from one School Resource Officer who reported “Moosehead Gang” graffiti around the school. The sergeant went to the school to investigate. What he discovered was that all the members of this so-called gang worked at Abercrombie & Fitch and wore polo shirts with the store’s logo—a moose. They called themselves the Moosehead Gang. Their only crime was cheaply made, over-priced clothes.

Because of gangs, Nashville also has gun violence. Most gun violence is gang-on-gang. To address gun violence, Chief Drake created the TITANS unit—The Investigative Team Addressing Neighborhood Shootings.

Another tool used to combat shootings is NIBIN—the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. Cartridge casings gathered at crime scenes are analyzed and entered into the NIBIN database where the findings are matched against other shootings. The investigators can see if a particular gun had been used at other locations. With this information, they can better track down shooters and their associates.