Congratulations, East Ridge - And Response (2)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Congratulations, East Ridge, on appointing a new police chief. Good job not allowing qualifications, education, or leadership experience to get in the way of making such an important decision that affects the daily lives of East Ridge business owners and residents. 

Despite having several candidates with college education, specialized leadership training, and experience with gangs, criminal investigations, and drug enforcement, you selected a chief whose resume includes: volunteer, dispatcher, and traffic officer. You selected the one person who was least qualified and has no supervisory or leadership experience. Way to go.

Never mind that every resident in East Ridge has been the victim of a property crime, never mind that there are more meth labs than title pawn shops, never mind that gangs are shooting at each other in the middle of Ringgold Road. What's important is that those fender benders in the Bi-Lo parking lot are properly investigated. Oh yeah, expect more traffic tickets. That will help clean up this city that appears to be circling the drain. 

I mean no disrespect to Chief Reed. By all accounts, he is a "nice guy" who has been with the department a long time. "Since he has stayed here for so long and others have left, he must deserve it" one person wrote in a recent online discussion. Well, what if he tried to leave several times, but no other departments/agency would take him? Does he stay out of loyalty or because he doesn't have the ability to make it at Chattanooga PD or Hamilton County Police? That's like saying Dan Uggla should be the next general manager for the Atlanta Braves because no other team wants him. 

You can't blame the new city manager. He is doing what he is told by the same councilman who has been working behind the scenes plotting and scheming for control of the police department since being elected. Whether it's to get his friends in positions or to provide opportunity for his son, we will soon find out. Either way, a back room deal was made and that new guy in town with the tow truck is a part of it. This councilman has even duped two other councilmen to follow his lead. Tragic. 

We, the people of East Ridge, need to wake up and demand more from our city leaders. We can not return to the "good ole days" with the "good ole boys." And yet, we have taken a huge step backwards. Elect honest people with average intelligence, that's all it takes. Take the example from Fort Oglethorpe, and say enough is enough. 

Don't bother responding to this post, I won't read it because I will be busy packing my stuff and getting out of Chicago.....oops, I meant East Ridge.

Robert Shackelford

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I respect and appreciate Chattanoogan.com for providing a forum for readers to voice their opinions. It is unfortunate that Mr. Robert Shackelford jumped out with his opinion with no facts to back it up.  It appears that his motivation is that whoever he wanted to be selected wasn’t.  Too bad, Mr. Shackelford, City Manager Hyatt was the one with the responsibility to make the decision and he did.  I, as a citizen of East Ridge, join many other citizens in support of the excellent choice that he made appointing JR Reed as Chief of the ERPD.
A couple of things you are misinformed about.
Number 1: This WAS Mr. Hyatt’s decision.  Unless you spoke with Mr. Hyatt and he told you that he was pressured to make this decision, you should not demean his character or ethics by making such a statement.  I seriously doubt that you spoke with him.  I did speak with him, not to suggest who he should appoint, but to give my support to him and the new Chief, whoever it might be.  This was a difficult decision and Mr. Hyatt did not take it lightly, I can assure you of that.  He faced it with due diligence and weighed all information along with interviews with the applicants.  To put it bluntly: get off the City Manager’s back and let him do his job!
Number 2:  The Councilman you mention did not, I repeat did not tell Mr. Hyatt to appoint Chief Reed! I talk with that Councilman and the other two you mention and none of them looked at the list of applicants and told Mr. Hyatt to appoint Chief Reed!
Number 3: You mention a new guy in town with a tow truck.  Sir, the wrecker ordinance has not come back on the agenda for a vote; therefore I don’t think anyone has been added to the police district wrecker list.  If you have other information, please contact me, I would like to know.
Number 4: This appoint to Police Chief was anything but “good old boys”!!  Chief Reed, I call him that with pride is not and has not been a part of the good old boys system.  If he had he would have advanced in rank and pay a long time back.  We have seen more than our share of the good old boys system in East Ridge, and thankfully we are moving away from that. East Ridge citizens need to give Chief Reed the opportunity to prove to you that he can do the job.  Since the announcement of his promotion I have had at least 4 members of ERPD and many, many citizens tell me personally that they are excited to have him in this position.
Number 5: You mention qualifications; did you look at all of their resumes?  If you didn’t, then you really don’t know what their qualifications are.  To be an effective Chief you must have more than education. You have to have the respect of the officers; you have to have people skills and unbiased leadership skills. As far as education goes, education comes in many forms, other than attending classes. This profession gets the best education being on the job, on the street and knowing your community. I am sure that Mr. Hyatt took ALL attributes under consideration in making his decision. Chief Reed is qualified for the position and for you to suggest otherwise is unbelievably disrespectful. According to East Ridge hiring policy, he was more qualified that some other applicants by two city policies.  One is that policy is to promote from with-in when possible. Another is that if there is an East Ridge resident and a non-resident, the resident gets first consideration.
Number 6: I think that I may be the one you “misquoted” about a statement made on recent on line discussion.  What I actually said was “when other officers began disillusioned with ERPD and left for other jobs, Officer Reed stayed and continued to serve and protect the citizens of East Ridge”.  Does this alone qualify him for the job, no, but it does show his dedication to our city!!
Number 7: Just in case you do take the time to read this.  If you need help moving, let me know, I will be glad to assist you.

Frances Pope
East Ridge

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I'm sure Mr. Hyatt would say he chose Chief Reed in the utmost impartial manner. Evidently, unlike some, I also know politicians will sometimes not tell the truth. I'm sure after a period of time we will be able to see if it's business as usual in "Little Chicago."

Looking at how long things have been an embarrassment in East Ridge, I'm guessing not much will change. 

Herb Montgomery



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