Mayor Andy Berke announced Thursday that Fred Fletcher of Austin, Tex., is his pick for Chattanooga Chief of Police. With 20 years of experience in law enforcement, Mr. Fletcher has served in an executive, command, or supervisory role for 12 years. As commander in Region III of the Austin Police Department, Mr. Fletcher spearheaded community initiatives including a drug market intervention that shares the same principles with David Kennedy’s initiatives, including the Chattanooga Violence Reduction Initiative.
“I have made public safety my top priority since day one and I have every confidence that Fred is the right person to join me in that effort” said Mayor Berke. “This is an important moment for the future of our city. Fred is a smart, energetic individual who had the experience, skills, and energy we need leading the talented men and women at the Chattanooga Police Department.”
The mayor's office said, "Throughout his career, Mr. Fletcher has focused on making Austin a safer city. In his current position, he commands 218 sworn personnel including patrol, investigative, undercover street crimes and community policing units, in a region of Austin with a population of 170,000 citizens. Austin is the fourth largest city in Texas with a total population of over 800,000.
"In his leadership position, Mr. Fletcher implemented community outreach programs to improve the relationships between police officers and neighborhoods. His hands-on approach to leadership has built bridges both inside and outside of the police force and his dedication to crime reduction has produced significant results: Mr. Fletcher’s Region III saw a 14 percent reduction in crime from 2012 to 2013 and Austin has been named the second safest large city in the nation."
On Thursday, Mr. Fletcher met with leaders within the police department before speaking to a lineup of rank and file officers at 3 p.m. He is meeting with community and neighborhood leaders throughout the day tomorrow.
Mr. Fletcher will come before City Council for confirmation in the coming weeks and, once confirmed, begin as Chattanooga’s police chief after he serves his notice at his current position.
Mr. Fletcher will lead the Chattanooga Police Department at a salary of $142,500 which is comparable to cities of Chattanooga's size throughout the Southeast, the mayor said. As commander, his salary in Austin was $144,654.
Mayor and new chief
- Photo2 by Brent McDonald (See video on NewsChannel 9)