MEMPHIS, TN - When it comes down to tracking gang members in Shelby County, it is all about the art.
"The tattoos tell a big story," says Sgt. Charles Eldridge, with the Shelby County Sheriff's Street Crimes Unit.
The sheriff's office gave abc24.com a rare, first-hand look as investigators tracked down gang members. The look comes as discussions continue on reviving the Metro Gang Unit. The unit disbanded in December 2005.
"Tattoos are big in our job," says Eldridge.
He took abc24.com with him as he patrolled several areas known to have a high concentration of gang members. Eldridge says investigators look at tattoos for the tell-tale signs of gang affiliation. He says there are certain signs and symbols gangs use to identify themselves.
"Sometimes we do feel overwhelmed," he says, "but at the same time, you keep pushing and pushing. If you save one kid, you feel like you did your job."