(WMC-TV) – Memphis Mayor A C Wharton announced a new part to his Youth Gun Violence Plan on Thursday.
The new part of the plan is called the 901 B.L.O.C. (Better Lives, Opportunities, and Communities) Squad.
The mayor's initiative to reduce youth gun violence got started in May. Now, he is adding a team of men who grew up on the streets, who know how to identify youth violence.
Delvin Lane does not mind sharing that he is an ex-gang leader.
"I started selling crack cocaine when I was 11 years old and I've just always been a part of the violent community," said Lane, 901 B.L.O.C. Squad.
After 12 years ministering to troubled young people, Lane is joining the mayor's gang. He is one of five men selected to serve on the city's new squad.
The mayor says the 901 B.L.O.C. Squad can investigate the root causes of youth violence after the crime scene tape comes down.
"They are not the police they don't they don't have to go around getting people to snitch. The information is there," said Mayor Wharton.
In 2011, 904 young people between the ages of 13 and 24 were arrested for gun-related crimes in Memphis.
Wharton says many of those crimes were in retaliation for a previous crime.
"It's just knowing the streets, knowing the fears, knowing where the information is, to get to people and say, 'Hey, look, let's not retaliate,'" said Wharton.
Squad members will undergo three months of intense training at the National Gang Center. Then they will take what they have learned back to the meanest streets in Memphis.
"Violence has always been a part of my life. People always ask, 'How did you make it out?' The good Lord is my only answer," said Lane.
Mayor Wharton says the concept has been tested and has reduced youth gun violence in other cities.
The team will begin by focusing on the Frayser and South Memphis areas but hope to expand throughout the entire city.