David Bishop of the Cleveland Police Department was sworn in as the new Cleveland City Police Chief on Monday afternoon by Mayor Tom Rowland.
Councilman Dale R. Hughes called Chief Bishop "highly qualified," and listed some of his previous awards, including Officer of the Year, Detective of the Year, and Supervisor of the Year. He will be replacing former Police Chief Wes Snyder, who resigned recently. Mr. Bishop received a standing ovation.
Councilman Richard L. Banks said, "I think the police department is in good hands." He said even though mistakes were made under the previous administration, many advancements were also made. He said, "We don't have the problems they have in Chattanooga or Dalton."
He asked that Mr. Snyder's gun be retired; this motion passed unanimously. Councilman Banks also compiled a list of accomplishments of the Cleveland Police Department under Mr. Snyder's time as chief. He said there had been lots of negative press coverage and that he wanted there to be good coverage as well.
After swearing in Mr. Bishop, the Council opened the floor. Bowman Avenue resident Cindy Fennel spoke out about the continued flooding problem in the area. She said she had been trying to get help from the city for over two years.
Public Works Director Tommy Myers said the city is actively working to get the agreement of all the residents in the area so they could start fixing the problem. Mr. Myers also updated the Council on his department, saying starting Monday, they would be running debris and pickup routes once per week. In order to continue their work of keeping the city clean, he asked the Council to approve the purchase of a knuckle boom, using money from the Solid Waste Fund. The Council passed a resolution approving this.
School Board member Dawn Robinson also spoke about getting funding for the construction of a new elementary school on Georgetown Road and the repair of Cleveland High School's gymnasium. Mrs. Robinson said the Board would prepare a resolution to introduce to the Council by the end of the week. This resolution would ask the Council members to commit to using any bond money they receive from Bradley County for the project.
Director of Schools Dr. Martin Ringstaff urged the Council to come to a decision about the new school's funding quickly. He said, "If we wait until March on the elementary school, we are dead in the water until 2016."
Cleveland Utilities CEO and President Ken Webb also gave a presentation to the Council. Mr. Webb said that Cleveland Utilities is in the process of converting the city's approximately 717 traffic lights to LED light bulbs.
Mr. Webb said even though this process costs around $3,500 per intersection, each light installed uses 80 percent less energy than the current lights. He said this will result in financial savings for the city.
Councilman Hughes spoke in favor of the new lights, saying he had already noticed that they were much brighter. Tad Bacon, the Cleveland Utilities Traffic Signal Coordinator, said at this point, around 60 percent of Cleveland's traffic lights had been converted. The Council voted to continue this process.