I will preface this by saying that I am a Chattanooga Police officer of 20 years, a conservative and a Republican voter, but when it comes to the ballot this term I am urging fellow voters to say no to Senator Todd Gardenhire.
Recently, Senator Gardenhire’s critical remarks about the Chattanooga Police Department diversity hiring practices were not only inaccurate, but displayed a desperate attempt to attack his opponent. In case people reading this are unaware, Senator Gardenhire’s opponent, Glenn Scruggs is African American, an assistant chief with the Chattanooga Police Department. Just based on those factors maybe someone should have probably informed Gardenhire that attacking diversity hiring would probably not have been the best angle to take.
What I found most troubling is that Senator Gardenhire remarked that he met with unnamed leaders of the black community and they voiced that the black community “didn’t want white officers policing them”. I began working as a patrolman in East Chattanooga, Orchard Knob and Avondale area back in 2007. I would later go on to become a shift supervisor in this same area. I have spent countless amounts of time in community meetings and community engagements since I started there. In all that time I cannot recall a single time where the subject of not wanting white officers has come up. You can rest assured that the community members were not holding back, they generally are very vocal and at times it can become a tad uncomfortable for someone in my position.
What I also find interesting is that I cannot ever recall a single time hearing, seeing any significant representation from Senator Gardenhire in the African American community (which 24 percent of his district is composed of). The fact that Senator Gardenhire came to the table to attack the Chattanooga Police Department with old data and seemingly skewed view of policing practices in the African American community just lets me know just how out of touch he really is.
What I can recall is seeing Chief Glenn Scruggs stopping most mornings at local businesses or just stopping to speak with community members. This is just part of who Glenn Scruggs is. He invests his time in the people of this community and acts a servant leader for the employees of the Chattanooga Police Department. Glenn Scruggs is a fair and honest man that I feel will bring some much needed partisanship to our government. Glenn Scruggs business has been about people for nearly 25 years and as a Republican I am proud to support this man into Senate District 10.--
Sgt. Curtis Penney