Hammond Outlines Accomplishments In Speech To Pachyderm Club

Monday, July 15, 2013 - by Gail Perry

When Jim Hammond took office as Hamilton County sheriff in 2008, there were certain programs he wanted to see happen. Monday morning, he gave a quick list of accomplishments to the Pachyderm Club.

In general he said, the sheriff’s department has advanced technologically and is now comprised of more and better educated officers than in the past.

The number one goal was to improve communication with the staff of nearly 400 and with the public. This has been addressed with a monthly newsletter published online on the last day of each month. It is automatically emailed to employees, retirees and citizens can request to be put on the distribution list.

The website as a whole has been re-worked and now offers more interactive features. The public can request reports online, jobs can be applied for, and information about over 200 neighborhood watch programs is now available on that site. A crime can be instantly reported and tips can be made for solving a crime.

A reserve officer program is being used as a supplement to the sheriff’s department. These “reserve officers” must go through 80 hours of training, attend P.O.S.T. certification, and work a minimum of 20 hours per month. The volunteer supplemental officers are not allowed to make arrests and must ride in the back seat of a patrol car, but they do wear the same uniform and are considered to be extra hands.

The horse patrol has become an outsourced program and is considered to be a great tool for the department in the way of public relations, the sheriff said. Because it is contracted out, it is now less costly for residents of Hamilton County. Owners of the horses are responsible for veterinary care, feeding and housing, with the sheriff’s department being responsible for training. The rider must be a reserve officer

The Chaplain’s Program now employs 12 traveling chaplains to serve victims and their families as well as in the prisons themselves. Each of these must be a reserve officer.

There is also now a Marine division that has two boats and a sheriff’s underwater rescue team of five to eight officers who are certified divers. This department also has a robot provided by Homeland Security, which can go to the bottom of a body of water and search with lights.

The department is working on several accreditations.

The Sheriff’s Law Enforcement Foundation is run for the benefit of every law enforcement agency in the area. It has instigated practices such as using a video booth for arraignments so a prisoner does not have to be moved. Visitations to inmates are being set up by video as well, at a cost of $20 for a half hour. This technique has been paid for by the convicts themselves, and is safer and well-liked by lawyers and judges, he said. This method of communicating with prisoners reduces accidents as well as the cost of jail manpower.

As one way to keep youth busy in the summer, Sheriff Hammond hires 15 college or high school students each summer for jobs such as filing, cleaning and helping out in the office.

An extremely comprehensive annual report is now produced that details everything that goes on in the sheriff’s office. The purpose of this report is to inform anyone who may be interested of what is happening in this county department and to help determine what is needed.

A retiree’s annual luncheon is now scheduled once a year.

A public service announcement by Sheriff Hammond is another yearly event. It is done with a robo-caller. It is perceived that elderly citizens especially appreciate hearing from law enforcement, he said.

The sheriff along with a team of others in law enforcement participates with a police mission team. Each participant is responsible for raising money for the trip. This teaches how foreign law enforcement works and creates good will and relationships with the foreign governments, he said. This ultimately helps the U.S,. said the sheriff.

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s office also heads up a quarterly chiefs luncheon. The chiefs of all law enforcement agencies in the area meet to share information and identify their needs. As an example, at a recent luncheon, a speaker talked about how to use cell phones and computers to track crime.

A goal not yet realized, said Sheriff Hammond, is a way to intercede with at-risk students in elementary school. There is no effective program in place now, he said.

The Chattanooga Tea Party will meet Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the new Embassy Suites hotel on Gunbarrel Road. There will be three speakers followed by a question and answer period.

The Republican Women will hold a meeting Thursday at the Republican Headquarters. If not available to attend, members were asked to fill out a proxy.

The speaker next week at the Pachyderm Club meeting will be Senator Bo Watson, who will be talking about state government from his perspective.


Heritage House Craft And Crop Set For Nov. 6

The Heritage House Craft and Crop will be held on Thursday, Nov. 6, from 6-9 p.m. at Heritage House Arts and Civic Center, 1428 Jenkins Road. This is part of the monthly Ambi Artist Meeting.  Participants can come, whether designing clothes or costumes, painting a portrait, scrapbooking, crocheting, making jewelry, or whatever the craft of choice.   ... (click for more)

A Night of Political Discussions At The Jewish Cultural Center

The Jewish Cultural Center, 5461 North Terrace Road, invites the pubic to join members of the Chattanooga community on Monday night for a series of political discussions. Between 7:30-7:45 p.m. guests may arrive to watch the debate between Rep. Chuck Fleischmann from the 3rd Congressional District and Democratic challenger Dr. Mary Headrick. The debate will be ... (click for more)

Mayor Berke, Chattanooga Police Department, And Community Members Reach Out To Group Members To End Violence

The city of Chattanooga held a call-in on Thursday night, as part of the Violence Reduction Initiative. Dozens of law enforcement officials, community members, social service providers and clergy gathered to deliver a message to over 20 members of violent groups in Chattanooga. Family members of the probationers watched the call-in from another building. Although the call-in was ... (click for more)

Man Airlifted To Erlanger After Early Morning Crash In Bradley County

Bradley County EMS responded to an early morning crash Thursday at 7 a.m. at the intersection of Lauderdale Memorial Highway and Walker Valley Road in Charleston. Three ambulances and an EMS supervisor responded to the scene. There were three vehicles involved and one car left the roadway.   One adult man suffered serious injuries and it was determined that he needed ... (click for more)

Chairs Cost How Much?

Many times while growing up, I would go to the store with my parents. More often than not, I would see something I wanted, and ask my parents to buy it for me. More often than not, they said no. “Why?” I asked. “Son, money doesn’t grow on trees.” That’s a phrase I’m sure many of us have heard more than once over the course of our lives. However, I have since learned that they were ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Dear Friend Luther

One sunny morning in June years ago, the renowned radio icon Luther Masingill was on his way back to the WDEF studios on South Broad Street when he stopped for a red light and noticed a young couple in a car idling next to his familiar light blue Ford pickup. “What caught my eye was a buck-toothed boy eating a banana in the back seat,” he explained in an aside to that day’s lunchtime ... (click for more)