Dale Taylor Sworn In As New Fire And Police Chief For Lookout Mountain, Tn.

  • Wednesday, February 14, 2024
Chief Dale Taylor
Chief Dale Taylor
photo by Gail Perry

When Fire and Police Chief Duane Schermerhorn retired last month, the town did not miss a beat in appointing Dale Taylor, deputy chief of fire and police, for the position. At the February commission meeting, he was sworn in as the town’s new Fire and Police chief, town marshal and plumbing and building inspector. 

Chief Taylor began his career in the U.S. Marine Corps, and spent nine years in the Marine Reserves. His law enforcement career started at the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office in the corrections unit. Two years later he was hired by the Chattanooga Police Department and spent seven years in the burglary and robbery division. At the same time he earned his EMT license and then his paramedic license. He came to the Lookout Mountain Police and Fire Department in 2014 as an officer, firefighter and paramedic, and now has worked his way up to chief.

In the past 30 days, three officers have left the police and fire department and Chief Taylor worked quickly to replace them. Two of the new officers come to the job with a lot of police experience and the other has fire experience.

Jim Bentley, fire and police commissioner, said that the town’s license plate readers are up and running with the latest technology. They will detect any vehicle associated with a warrant or if it is stolen or been involved in other law enforcement issues. If the LPRs get a hit, they will automatically alert the police dispatcher and directly notify each police vehicle.

January was a busy month for the Public Works department largely due to  wind, rain and ice storms knocking down trees and limbs and creating an overabundance of brush. The public works employees have been working to clear the piles but are still backed up, said Commissioner of Public Works William Valadez. Additional debris was left by EPB after removing damaged trees to restore power. The town will pick up the brush piles left by EPB,  but large logs that were left will be the responsibility of the homeowner, he said. Other work planned for the near future is road striping, but it will have to be done when the temperature warms. The clogged pipe on lower Fairy Trail has finally been fixed and the cost came in under budget at $8,000, said the commissioner.

The Public Works department has also been busy cleaning up overgrowth around the town hall building. Mayor Walker Jones said it looks so nice that it started him thinking that the town should become pro-active and spruce up The Commons. He said the school and The Commons are the center of town and he would like to begin raising money to freshen up and beautify the area. It has already started with the terraces below the tennis courts that Lookout Mountain Beautiful Garden Club landscaped a couple of years ago. And this year the garden club is donating 15 trees for the area around The Commons. Parks and Playgrounds Commissioner Joe Hailey said he would like to see a total makeover of the park, and suggested hiring a landscape architect to design a “total re-do.” He said there is a huge opportunity at The Commons for the future use of the whole property. A professional will know how to best utilize the property.

Improvements to the fields and tennis courts are also taking place at The Commons now. It started with a storm that broke some light poles at Johnson Field. After inspecting them all, the town officials decided they should all be replaced because of safety issues. Hamilton County Commissioner Joe Graham, the town’s representative, helped Lookout Mountain, Tn. by getting the county involved in the replacement of lights. The cost came in under the anticipated amount so what was left will be applied to the cost of replacing the old wooden light poles on Senter Field. The job was bid and was awarded to Lawson Electric, the low bidder. The poles will be delivered this week and they are expected to be put up and lights installed by mid-April to avoid impacting baseball season.

Now, basketball is going full-force said Commissioner Hailey, then next will come baseball. In addition to getting new lights for the fields, the rec board has installed batting cages. The town of Lookout Mountain, Tn. agreed to be responsible for putting a roof over them. Commissioner Hailey is hoping the town will be able to buy the materials, which should lower the cost of erecting the roof. Several months ago the tennis courts were re-marked to also be used for pickleball. The nets have been up now since November and Commissioner Hailey said the courts are being used a lot every day.

Commissioner of Education Karen Leavengood said Lookout Mountain Elementary's robotics team competed in the Regional Robotics Tournament that ended a successful season. Ms. Avans and Ms. Hughes were the robotics coaches.

On Tuesday, from 4-6 p.m., the PTA will host STEAM, an event featuring Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math, in conjunction with the Creative Discovery Museum. Both students and parents are invited to come.  

The first week in February, students in  grades 1,3 and 5 invited parents to a “Sweetheart Lunch” and Grandparents Day will be on Friday, March 1. That evening the school’s annual Night Out for Lookout fundraiser will take pace at the golf club. This year the party will have a Mardi Gras theme. Tickets can be bought at www.nightoutforlookout.com.

Town Consultant Brooke Pippenger said in January, $15,822 in expenses were paid for the fire and police department, which included remodeling the kitchen and repairs that were made for a police vehicle. Ms. Pippenger was authorized to get a proposal from Johnson Murphey and Wright for performing the  town’s upcoming audit.

The next meeting of the Lookout Mountain, Tn. Commission will be March 12 at 5 p.m.  



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