Recently, Councilwoman Pam Ladd distributed a campaign mailer and automated call that stated her strong support of the needs of Chattanooga Police Officers during the last four years. As a member of the Fraternal Order of Police, I am having great difficulty remaining silent about this.
During a time when gang shootings and crime were dominating the news (nationally, one Christmas Eve), the needs of police officers were overlooked while other non-essential needs were funded the City Council. We have seen Mayor Littlefield, Pam Ladd, and others on the City Council vote (again) to deny needed pay raises last year, reduce our disability benefits and eliminate the overtime pay for certain police officers. And these votes came after Pam Ladd voted to support Mayor Littlefield’s decision to park police cars, which basically reduced the presence of police officers on our streets and in our neighborhoods.
Watch and read the local news: Are you feeling that “savings?”
Our city needs strong leaders that will not be a rubber stamp for the mayor or accept the status quo from City Hall when it comes to crime.
I believe that Ken Smith is this person for Council District 3.
His experience and background have given him a strong understanding of the challenges our community faces today with poverty, crime and public safety. I have met with him personally and I believe he is also committed to working with police officers to find solutions that will tackle the public safety challenges in our community. Ken, too, is concerned about the “global needs” of the city, but Ken gets something that in my experience at council committee meetings and full sessions that Pam does not: That safety should be a priority, not a consideration. He gets that we don’t have a zoning problem, or an arts problem: We have a crime problem.
This type of leadership is why Ken received the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police as well as the International Brotherhood of Police Officers. And, this is why I strongly encourage you to vote for Ken Smith on Tuesday, March 5.
Early voting is over so come Tuesday, please get to the polls and take just a few moments to help your police officers help you by voting for Ken Smith.
Your vote doesn’t just count: It is essential.
Craig W. Joel
Rock City Lodge #22
Fraternal Order of Police