Police Promotional Practices Costly To Taxpayers

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Some enterprising reporter should dig up the amount of the money wasted by the City of Chattanooga in legal fees and civil court judgments over the last twenty-plus years due to arbitrary promotional practices by the police department. It would be considerable. The City’s latest pay-out of almost three quarter of a million dollars to officers who were passed over for promotion is just another in a long series of unnecessary City liabilities over promotional practices. I know that law enforcement administrators receive training to avoid such legal pitfalls, and presumably councilpersons and mayors have access to legal counsel. So, why would they negligently disregard such advice, and disregard the outcome of promotional testing processes they themselves have put in place?

Officers who play by the rules to get promoted shouldn’t have the rules changed on them because someone doesn't like the results of the process. There should be a predictable path to promotion and the progress that began with Chief Dotson in establishing such a path was undermined by this most recent case. A patrol officer that exposed the city to a $725,000 liability would be in trouble, but who holds city leaders accountable when they do likewise?

Kenneth D. Phillips
Lieutenant (retired)
Chattanooga Police Department

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