Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said Friday he is keeping Bobby Dodd as police chief.
“I have had numerous conversations with Chief Dodd over the last several weeks,” said Mayor Berke. “I appreciate his dedication and experience in law enforcement and have asked him to continue to serve as chief of police.”
“I look forward to continuing to work with Mayor Berke and his administration, to move the police force forward on these public safety priorities,” said Chattanooga Police Chief Dodd.
The mayor also shared details on the initial components of his comprehensive public safety plan designed to reduce crime in Chattanooga. After a public safety forum in March and numerous meetings with community members on related issues, Mayor Berke and his team spent several weeks developing a strategy to reduce crime in the city, he said.
“Public safety is my number one priority,” said Mayor Berke. “We must reduce crime and make our streets safer. And we will do that by implementing innovative initiatives and new approaches that have proven to be successful in other cities. We have looked at these tactics and incorporated them into the development of a comprehensive public safety plan, designed to make Chattanooga safer.”
Mayor Berke said his team is ready to begin to implement the first three components of his plan. The first phase of the Public Safety Plan includes:
• A Public Safety Council to address policing, prosecution, punishment and prevention. The group will be led by Mayor Berke and will include Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger, U.S. Attorney Bill Killian, District Attorney Bill Cox, Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd and Sheriff Jim Hammond. Other individuals could be added to the council at a later date and as appropriate. “This group of experts will provide a more effective, coordinated effort,” said Mayor Berke. “Together the Public Safety Council has the decades of experience needed to address our city’s most pressing issues as well as develop long term goals to keep crime down.”
• An exhaustive study of the Chattanooga Police Department will be conducted to evaluate and determine best practices. The study will begin in the coming weeks and could take up to six months to complete. “This is an investment in the future of the Chattanooga Police Department. For us to be more effective, we must know where we are starting. This study will serve as a valuable tool, providing focus on areas in need of improvement within the department,” said Mayor Berke.
• Development of an online Crime Scorecard to make crime data more readily available and measurable. “We can only begin to reduce crime when we understand what’s really happening on our streets,” said Mayor Berke. The Crime Scorecard is in the beginning stages of development but once in place, it will “ensure we collect the right data so we set the best goals to make our streets safer.”
“These are just the first steps. Over the coming months we will roll out additional innovative approaches to address our number one priority – keeping Chattanoogans safe,” said Mayor Berke.