Roy Exum: Police Response ‘Perfect’

Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond was high in his praise of the Chattanooga Police Department’s response to an “aggravated riot” late Saturday afternoon. “It was perfect,” he said during an update on the local response following the deadly Florida School shootings two weeks ago. “Chief (David) Roddy should be tremendously proud of his command staff and his officers. They did a commendable job.”
Hamilton Place Mall was abruptly closed shortly after the incident and a handgun was found outside an entrance.
A shell casing was also found but it was not determined if the spent round came from the gun.
The sheriff’s office now immediately responds to “active shooter” situations but serves in a back-up role for the city police officers. “We have safeguards in place and the security plan for the mall worked perfectly,” Hammond said. “All of law enforcement takes incidents like this very seriously. I think the police department rapid response and the professional way the police officers responded calmed what could easily have turned into a bad situation.”
It has been learned the large fight occurred when members of two gangs, the Bloods and Crips, “accidentally” ran into one another at the Mall late Saturday afternoon. The two gangs have a 50-year history of violence and rivalry. Surveillance tapes showed one individual, allegedly 18-year-old David LeBron Ballard, brandishing an automatic pistol. He has been arrested for aggravated riot, reckless endangerment and other charges.
The incident, which attracted the attention of the national media, came 10 days after another 18-year-old, Nikolas Cruz, killed 17 people in Parkland, Fla., and ever since Sheriff Hammond has devoted the majority of his time towards safeguarding the schools – both public and private – in Hamilton County.
“We just had a good meeting with School Board Chairman Steve Highlander and Schools Superintendent Bryan Johnson but the biggest steps right now are being taken in Nashville. I know our Hamilton County lawmakers are extremely concerned and I suspect by the end of this week we will be in a better place to make some unpopular but very necessary decisions.
“We can no longer ignore the evidence that demands we must act in the best way possible,” said Hammond, quite aware that across the country county sheriffs are actively training teachers and others in a “shoot back” philosophy. “Most people feel ‘good guns’ are the most plausible solution because those who choose to help protect the students are already at the schools.
“What people must know is that I or any other sheriff is not going to make anyone carry a gun. This is strictly voluntary and then each applicant must go through a vetting program. We are suggesting a 40-hour class, much more detailed than the eight-hour ‘carry permit’ offered statewide in Tennessee. Nobody will be asked to carry a weapon – it is totally voluntary,” he repeated.
Hammond said that several years ago the Tennessee legislature actually approve a bill enabling educators to carry weapons but said recent happenings and new concerns require the bill to be updated. “Even at that, I fully expect the Legislature to present a plan and enable some solutions by the end of this week or early next week.”
Hammond, who has been instrumental in working with legislators since the Valentine’s Day massacre, said several ideas are being considered but that the state lawmakers are strongly considering giving the sheriffs in every Tennessee county the leeway to do what’s best on a county-by-county basis.
“It is obvious what is best for Hamilton County will be different than what a rural county in West Tennessee needs. A large Metro area like Nashville is far different than a smaller county in upper East Tennessee. There is no question I will talk to sheriffs who have the same demographics I do and I am ‘all ears’ for any ideas that can keep children safe.”
The sheriff remains adamant the top need in every Hamilton County school is a counselor at every school. “Nobody knows students better than the other students. These kids can tell you who is being abused at home, who is selling drugs, the bullies and who is being bullied, and can point to every at-risk child there is. This is how you can stop everything. Listen to these children.
“If the School Board wants to really help kids, then really help. A good counselor … someone our children knows who cares about them, is the biggest piece of the puzzle. We need to act on this immediately and what it costs is nothing compared to what it can cost.”
We’ve got to act right now. Very boldly.

Problems With Bike Lanes And The School System

Bike Lanes:  There was a notice in the paper that MLK Boulevard from Georgia Avenue to Central Avenue was being reduced from four lanes to three lanes so that bike lanes could be installed. After looking at a survey on the that showed 98 percent of the people did not want this to happen, I am trying to understand why the people in the city were not given ... (click for more)

Trump Investigations Expose Democrat Corruption

The more President Trump is investigated, the more Democrat corruption is exposed.  Bob Bogart (click for more)

Strong Wave Of Storms Could Bring Possibility Of Tornadoes, Large Hail

The National Weather Service is warning that a strong line of storms moving into the Chattanooga area on Monday could bring the possibility of tornadoes and large hail. The storm will cause temperatures to drop on Tuesday and Wednesday into the 30s. Here is the special weather statement: THUNDERSTORMS EXPECTED LATE THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING ACROSS THE PLATEAU, PARTS ... (click for more)

North Carolina Corporation Resubmits Rezoning Request For 38,000-Square-Foot Grocery Store On Signal

Undeterred by the standing-room-only crowds who turned out last year to oppose its proposal to build a 38,000-square-foot supermarket directly across Taft Highway from Signal’s longtime hometown grocery, a North Carolina-based corporation has resubmitted its rezoning request.   This time around, however, the Keith Corp. (TKC) isn’t asking that the entire 8.25 ... (click for more)

Ooltewah Wins Wildcat Classic Again

Early season prep baseball tournaments are meant for a few things; primarily competition, repetition, and learning a few things about your team over the course of a few games.   The Ooltewah Owl baseball nine apparently has learned it likes collecting championship trophies in them as well.   For the second year in a row, the Owls won the longstanding ... (click for more)

Lady Vols Fall To Oregon State, 66-59, In 2nd Round Of NCAA's

KNOXVILLE-- Senior center Mercedes Russell logged her 46th career double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds to lead Tennessee, but it wasn't enough as the No. 12/13 Lady Vols (25-8) fell to No. 13/12 Oregon State (25-7) in the second round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. Freshman Anastasia Hayes also had a double-digit outing for the No. 3 seed Lady Vols, posting ... (click for more)