published Monday, January 31st, 2011

Mayor wants more police to live in city

by Cliff Hightower

Chattanooga is ironing out details of a plan aimed at enticing veteran and rookie police officers to move into the city.

"We're looking at, 'What would it take?'" Mayor Ron Littlefield said last week.

Two weeks ago, Littlefield proposed to the Chattanooga City Council developing a housing incentives package for police officers who move into the city. Now, 42 percent of the Chattanooga Police Department's officers live inside the city limits, records show.

But police union leaders are skeptical, saying the city has been down that road before. Still, they say, the right package could help lure younger recruits to move here.

"They've tried these incentive packages before, and they were to less-than-desirable areas," said Phil Grubb, president of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers Local 673. "No one wants to move to a less-than-desirable part of town."

Chattanooga in 1999 implemented a program "Officer Next Door," said Beverly Cosley, the city's director of multicultural affairs. She said the program helped secure discount mortgage rates in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development homes.

Cosley said the program offered limited housing, mostly in the inner city, but in other parts of town as well.

"We have officers in that program living in East Brainerd," she said.

Cosley said perceptions also may have changed. For example, the Southside was once viewed as a less-than-desirable place to live but is now filled with popular single-family homes and condominiums, she said.



* $1,000: Relocation bonus offered by the Atlanta Police Foundation

* $77,000: Amount in the budget for the Atlanta relocation bonus this year

* Discounted rates: Atlanta Police Foundation partners with real estate agents, developers and apartment complexes to offer lower mortgages, housing prices and rental fees.

Source: Atlanta Police Foundation

Cosley said the incentives idea came from an article about a similar program in the Atlanta Police Department, though she said some aspects of that program may be too rich for Chattanooga.

"I think their approach is a lot broader," she said.

Stephanie Cruse, housing program manager for the Atlanta Police Foundation, said only 22 percent of the 1,800-member Atlanta Police Department lives in the city. Starting four years ago, the department began offering a $1,000 relocation bonus for sworn officers to move into the city, she said.

The program also teams up with community partners to find homes and rental properties at discounted prices, she said.

Many officers say they don't want to live in Atlanta because of high housing costs, substandard schools and unsafe conditions, she said.

"We don't expect to reach and move every police officer," she said. "Obviously, it comes down to preference."

Since the fall, 30 officers have expressed interest but only one has qualified for the $1,000 relocation bonus, Cruse said.


Littlefield and Cosley said Chattanooga's program is still in its infancy. Littlefield said the program from the 1990s could be "expanded and enhanced," and Cosley said she is looking for community partners.

Sgt. Craig Joel, vice president of the Chattanooga chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, said he sees the incentive as twofold: moving officers to high-crime neighborhoods in hopes of deterring crime and making fewer officers subject to take-home car mileage fees.

The City Council voted last week to charge take-home fees of 30 cents a mile for officers who live outside the city.

But Joel said avoiding the car fee isn't enough of an incentive.

"It's a $25 to $45 a week fee," he said. "We're not going to move into the city to save $20 a week."

He said police officers also don't want to live alongside the criminals they work to put in jail.

"Lion tamers don't move into the cage," he said.

Littlefield said he knows not all officers will want to move into the city. And he said he doesn't need union leaders' approval to proceed with his idea.

"Do they think criminals can't go outside the city?" he asked. "If the union leadership is not interested in the incentives, it's not for them."

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Salsa said...

'What would it take?"

A good first step would be getting rid of Littlfield and his cronies.

January 31, 2011 at 12:15 a.m.
midnitewatchman said...

So 42 percent of Chattanooga Police live in the City Limits and Atlanta only 22 percent. With Atlanta Police offerring a relocation bonus, only 1 qualified for it?

Chattanooga has almost double its Police force living in the city limits versus Atlanta, yet this is somehow a major problem for Chattanooga?

In a previous article it was shown that 3 major Tennessee Police Departments had less stringent policies than Chattanooga in regards to residency now.

When it comes to this, I have to speak up. Men and Women that took an oath to protect and serve life and property are being abused to further an agenda (ANNEXATION).

Its not so much that I am against Annexation, its the way its being done. A good "prudent" leader would not have to resort to such tactics.

Politicians bank on the fact that most people will forget what happened yesterday, believe the media spin or never even know at all.

January 31, 2011 at 1:18 a.m.
theojonah said...

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January 31, 2011 at 3 a.m.
inquiringmind said...

I imagine East Brainerd and the Southside are a less than desirable place to move, but so was N. Chatt twenty-thirty years ago. Crime does not respect geography, wherever you live, a crime is possible.

The real question is what is the issue here? Whether a policeman lives in the city or outside the city sounds irrelevant to saving money by letting them drive the car home or not. It sounds like Littlefield is trying to deflect the attention from a financial problem.

January 31, 2011 at 7:07 a.m.
fairmon said...

Using tax money to affect where someone elects to live is not appropriate or a legitimate use of tax payer money. Why does Littlefield think he is the king instead of mayor? The taxes, fees, sewer and storm water run off cost discourages anyone from being a city resident. Many have moved and out of the city and others will follow. The mayor and council are practicing a socialist style government while ignoring the city charter. They didn't fail to confiscate money from residents to support their non-essential programs and departments and now wonder why the police they treat poorly prefer to not live in the city. That is frightening isn't it? A lame duck is dangerous and will bite.

Paying attention identifies a lot of the reasons for the rate increases in the 12:38 a.m. post. It is worth reading and the video is a good example of the mayor and councils inept management. The mayor and council fail to recognize or acknowledge that their tax and spend behavior has an adverse impact on business growth or additions in the city.

January 31, 2011 at 7:55 a.m.
dendod said...

I don't watch Comedy Central anymore. I just log on to here and read what Ron Littlefield's latest funny is. He must think we're all stupid. He needs to find a job in Atlanta or somewhere where his elitist crap would be appreciated. He has no business trying to get police to move one place or another. He doesn't even like police. He doesn't like the homeless either. How's that Curb Market Thingie working Ron?????????????

January 31, 2011 at 8:24 a.m.
Allison12 said...

The New Ron Littlefield, program, "Connecting Dots to Move Policemen and their Families to the Hood," by the Non-Essential Program Director, Cosley. Of course they support moving police to the Ghetto. Does not affect them.

Littlefield start with a program called "Do What You Say First." Move you own Mr. Littlefield: Missy Crutchfield lives on Lookout Mtn. Paul Page lives in North Georgia, well we know all about that contractor house in East Ridge. Sally Robinson lives in a gated, guarded community by GPS. Ron Littlefield lives in the farest reaches away from the Hood in the depths of East Brainerd elite. Jack Benson lives way in the far reaches of East Brained.

Yep, Harp335, Lame duck, running our city into the ground.

January 31, 2011 at 8:41 a.m.
mella_yella said...

said Phil Grubb, "No one wants to move to a less-than-desirable part of town."

Translates to: We don't want to have to daily look into the faces of the citizens we've abused.

January 31, 2011 at 10:16 a.m.
MountainMan said...

Sgt Craig Joel says, "Lion tamers don't move into the cage."

Is it just me or does anyone else feel a sense of outrage that our police officers believe they are superior to all of us?

Why do we continue to expect these officers to make our streets and neighborhoods safer when they don't want to even live here themselves?

I'm so tired of hearing how dangerous police work is when the realities are that policing isn't even in the top 10 most dangerous jobs according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (see ) Do any of you who work jobs on this list get take home vehicles, housing subsidies, or special treatment of any kind?

I would be willing to bet that there are 10s of thousands of people actually living in Chattanooga that make far less than our police officers. If your work doesn't provide you with the compensation that you feel you are entitled to then perhaps you should find another line of work.

Isn't it interesting that the military doesn't have any difficulty finding people to go to war for much less pay and with far more personal sacrifice. Could this be because of a fundamental difference in the understanding of the word SERVICE?

As a child I was taught that policemen are our friends and are here to protect and serve the community. Did anyone notice the word SERVE? Perhaps we all need to get out our dictionaries to review the meaning of the word ( .)

When did we become the ones serving the policemen? Oh wait, I guess I never realized they think of themselves as friends of the zoo and we are all just pets to be corralled, herded and trained.

Although I do appreciate the hard work and dedication of our police officers, they are NOT above us and they are not our "trainers" as Sgt Joel has so eloquently stated. Perhaps it is this "I am the trainer" attitude in the Chattanooga police department that has our police afraid to live among us.

Law enforcement is an honest profession when it is practiced humbly. When it isn't, there is little difference between the zoo keeper and the animals.

January 31, 2011 at 10:53 a.m.
Allison12 said...

MountainMan, I mean Richard Beeland, Please get your reading comprehension skills checked ASAP. You have taken the entire piece out of context. Craig Joel is referencing moving his family to the most dangerous inner City, while Ron Littlefield's own staff is not willing to do so, and lives in gated communities. Would you put your children in the high crime area's where you arrest people.
Silly, of course you would not.

January 31, 2011 at 11:05 a.m.
Bacontrail said...

Why doesn't Littlefield move to a "less-than-desirable part of town?" Or better yet...ANOTHER town!

January 31, 2011 at 11:08 a.m.
MountainMan said...

Dear Alison12,

First, I am not Richard Beeland.

Second, my reading comprehension skills are quite fine, thank you. I realize that the main thrust of the article was about Littlefield's administration efforts to entice the police to move into the city. Howevre, Sgt Joel's comments about "moving into the cage" are over the top and as a citizen you should be as outraged as I am. It was his comments that motivated me to address this issue originally but since you feel that I have only pointed out the hypocrisy on the side of the police I'll now weigh in on the absurdity of our current Chattanooga administration as well.

Personally, I feel that the entire city government has overstepped its bounds in ways that we should all find extremely disturbing (annexation, taxes, fees, special interest, government pay and benefits, regulation, etc....) Everyone in this story is at fault, including the citizens. We have all abdicated our responsibilities relating to demanding and expecting our government to serve the citizens and not the bureaucrats and public servants. A government job, elected or not (this includes Ron and his administration), is not a ticket to drain the public of our treasury and our trust. As I stated in my original post, these are positions of service. All of them, including our illustrious mayor work for US, the citizens.

Government in its absolute best form is still force. In order for it to work, we all have to participate with selfless goals. In other words for the good of the whole. I know that is a Utopian dream, of course, but striving for high ideas is always better than conforming to the lowest denominators of force and self-avarice.

Since it appears that all parties in this article are only looking out for themselves, who is looking out for you and me? Let me give you a hint. No one. As long as we all sit by and let them define the issue and set up both sides of the argument we will never resolve this issue. Isn't it time we tried a citizen-centric government instead of the elitist lead one we have had for years?

From their actions, its pretty clear that Ron "Robbing hood" Littlefield and his band of merry thieves want to consolidate and redistribute our wealth to themselves.

When will we all wake up and realize that they aren't in our corner. They are outside "cage" trying deciding who, what, when, where, and how we should live. Their only interest is to keep us distracted by divisive issues so they can steal our wealth and redistribute it to the deserving.

January 31, 2011 at 12:08 p.m.
jpo3136 said...

I believe this is a distracting argument to take away our attention from the main matter: that the Mayor has been out of line in refusing to allow these Police officers continuous access to these take-home patrol cars.

Return the patrol cars to the police. Prevent the establishment of a property holding company that would support a buyout/leaseback outsourcing agreement for the vehicles.

Do not let the Mayor control the debate by accepting the premise of the question. The matter at hand is that the Police need to get their patrol cars back. No exceptions.

It is not in the City's interest to attempt to control where police officers live. They have already failed to control where the patrol cars should be parked.

Stop wasting our time. We understand that this is more political BS. We are not fooled.

Return the Police cars to the Police.

January 31, 2011 at 12:09 p.m.

In order to achieve a better law abiding society policing in its present form must be seriously reformed or done away with altogether. In its present form, police create more problems than they solve.

January 31, 2011 at 3:21 p.m.
Wolftever551 said...

Part 1 of 2:

Let me shake things up by using a real name here: My name is (Sgt.) Craig Joel. I'll shake them up even more by saying that MountainMan is correct in taking umbrage to my analogy. That was not my goal, but I do not blame him; please allow me to explain my choice of words though.

I have to walk a fine line in my comments because it's (obviously) not that I wish to avoid stepping on toes; it's because I don't want to frighten the citizens in the districts that I serve. (And 'serve' I in fact do.) I say that because I see things no one else should ever know, much less see; if my wife and children knew the awful things I've had to see and do they wouldn't let me go in on most days (or nights), but that is part of my job: Protection not just from physical harm, but the psychological harm of what society is capable of.

In all fairness to him (and the Council and particularly our Mayor), people do not see my point of view from the same perspective, and objectively speaking I cannot blame them for that. They see it from the aforementioned gated communities and lecterns of Council Chambers. From Lee Highway and Hixson Pike.

My perspective is from 2:00am on Roanoak Avenue and Wilson Street. From the 6th Avenue Courts and Woodland View Circle...because until recently I have spent most of my career working day and midnight shifts in the Projects where I felt police were needed most - and it has been an Honor. The people most upset by my comments see a police officer as the man in a Normal Rockwell painting or on the side of a highway writing a ticket. That is simply not the profession as I know it. Let me tell you about a few days at work for me:

A man duct-tapes a 5 year old boy to a tree in a cemetery and sodomizes him in the dark. The same boy is drown in a swimming pool the same week by the same care-giver, and literally has to be resuscitated...and the same 5 year old died later from the beating administered by his future step dad for fear of the boy "telling", and as a final insult the crime is covered up by his own mother. "Lions", sir? I was being very, very kind.

January 31, 2011 at 3:40 p.m.
Wolftever551 said...

Part 2 of 2:

...A girl once used a .357 magnum to attempt suicide. She failed (hence the "attempt"), and my partner took care of her despite her not having a jaw or nose remaining while she attempted to scream without both. Need more?

I have 1,000 different nightmares to choose from a night, sir, and I'm just one of hundreds of officers here. THOSE stories are "police work", if you've ever really wondered if all those prime time TV shows portrayed the real thing. Yet "critics" answers to stories like these are "You should just quit then, if you can't handle it." Unbelievable that such words would be the pay-off for what horror cops everywhere deal with, hence our hesitancy to say them aloud. But THOSE are the people to whom I refer, MountainMan. And again... "Lion" is a kind descriptive for them.

The job of a police officer is not like any other; our tours of duty are not 1 year or 5, they are 25 years of what I described above, seeing and doing the worst. One night I watched a man kill himself while standing on his fathers grave. What did YOU do at work last week?

Yet all we have asked for recently are the tools to do our jobs; to get to those awful calls quickly and safely, with the gear to handle them. Is that not humble enough?

Those described are our primary customers, the 1%'ers that make the rest live in fear. And those are the neighborhoods we will not be living in for a $20 dollar a week incentive; on that I believe we are firm.

I am honestly sorry to convey the things I've seen above, but I don't know how else to illustrate our perspective on it in a way that paints our point of view in a way easily (albeit viscerally) understood.

I may not be able to convince the "Mountain Men" (Signal or Lookout, I'd assume) of the city that what we have is anything BUT contempt, but I can't go around making sure each Mountain Man is "happy" with my service as much as he'd like it, because I'm not here to hold his hand and beg for acceptance; I'm here to keep him safe by doing what we've always done: "Serving" you day and night, by protecting folk from the Lions. It's as simple as that...because the Lions are real.

Sorry; passion that runs deep runs off at the mouth, so let me simply say "Thank You" for your support.

We just want to do our jobs - jobs, I assure you, like few others in this City.

January 31, 2011 at 3:41 p.m.

Ron Littlefield should recruit more officers from California and Chicago who have good backrounds in knowing how to deal with gang and gang violence. Chattanooga likes to wait unitl something goes down before being pro-active about bring the overall prolem to a close.

Most of the well to do middle and upper class people on Signal & Lookout mountain are scared that one day that gang problem might not stay in the valley but start coming up that mountain and right to there door step.

Chattanooga TN please start paying attention because a lot of peoples lifes might depend on it.

January 31, 2011 at 4:49 p.m.

Username: Wolftever551 | On: January 31, 2011 at 3:41 p.m.

May i tell you something if you wont to help ease the problems in this town then first you need to look at the racism and class divisons that run deep in this town. Until you address that part Wolfever you will never be able to get off of first base to second pal.

When you use the term "Lions" are you referring to all people in general or low income minority criminals who might prey on the middle and upper class white people in the city.

Thank you for your time but it is time that some of these posters need to stop repesenting Chattanooga TN on these boards until they KNOW how Chattanooga TN operates and does there dirt.

January 31, 2011 at 4:58 p.m.

Ron Littlefield should recruit more officers from California and Chicago who have good backrounds in knowing how to deal with gang and gang violence.Chattanooga likes to wait unitl something goes down before being pro-active about bringing the overall prolem to a close.

Most of the well to do middle and upper class people on Signal & Lookout mountain are scared that one day that gang problem might not stay in the valley but start coming up that mountain and right to there door step.

Chattanooga TN please start paying attention because a lot of peoples lifes might depend on it.

  • Correction from early post *
January 31, 2011 at 5:02 p.m.
Allison12 said...

idependentlighthouse. I can tell you that the gangs in California ain't the gangs in Tennessee. Funny, you think the California police , are more effective in our southern culture. Wolftever551, you are an awesome and honest spokesperson. If the Mayor only had your qualities, this ridiculous situation would not exist,.

January 31, 2011 at 5:07 p.m.
xyzyra said...

Actually independentlighthouse it is because of brutal California and Chicago style policing that crime is so out of control in those areas. Take it from someone who has lived in both. Pray none of those cops ever grace the state of Tennessee. Los Angeles just got out from under federal watch due to decades of corrupt and brutal policing.

January 31, 2011 at 6:32 p.m.

Oh boy no matter what i say people hate reading my comments but they read it anyway so the old saying goes it's better to be paid attention to then not at all.

I am honored to say the lease but on to responding to the posters.

Username: xyzyra | On: January 31, 2011 at 6:32 p.m.

Xyzyra i like that answer but you got to admitt they would bring a nice tough edge to these cops down here who have never seen the live action before like in more lager citys.I think it would improve Chattanooga's police departments over all proformance on the street and though out the whole cty and county. I Xyzyra have also lived in both states to but belive it of not the northern gangs are migrating down here into Nashville and bringing there criminal operations as well to speed up this zone of the country so don't think that Tn is no angel becauce there is a lot more clicks out here then you think and there no joke partner trust me.

Username: payingattention | On: January 31, 2011 at 5:33 p.m.

Yea you're making a point but do you have enough proof to take him to court which would in turn force him out of office ?.......don't think so but you tried anyway.

Username: Allison12 | On: January 31, 2011 at 5:07 p.m.

Allison12 have you ever been a mayor and hired these people to find out ? If so which city or county you was mayor of and how long did you stay in office ?

Woftever551 has a good heart but i sense a little red neck crooked cop lurking somewhere near by his uniform and patrol car.

Sorry it's just my opinion and everybody has one don't we. But in leaving you that was a good feel good post with a lot of milk toast added for good measure.

January 31, 2011 at 7:32 p.m.
neuquen said...

"The people most upset by my comments see a police officer as the man in a Normal Rockwell painting or on the side of a highway writing a ticket. That is simply not the profession as I know it. Let me tell you about a few days at work for me"

wolftever551 the people are upset because you seem to make the distinction that horrible things only happen in the projects you patrol and not in your own or some other upscale neighborhood. At least most of us know better. The Florida mom who killed her teen son and daughter for allegedly mouthing off at her lived in what's considered a crime free community in a home her family recently purchased for over 400K.

If those neighborhoods you patrol are too dangerous for your kind to live in they are equally too dangerous for you and yours to work in.

January 31, 2011 at 7:47 p.m.
neuquen said...

the 1%'ers that make the rest live in fear

What about that 1.5%+ of bad cops on the force that makes innocent citizens live in fear? Who tarnish their badge and dishonor the profession at every chance they get? Should the profession ignore the reality and the citizens accept it in exchange for at least the appearance of being made safe and secure?

January 31, 2011 at 8 p.m.
scoob69 said...

Bad cops, good cops, lions, sheep, racism, 1%'ers, mountian goats/men whatever...sounds like a bunch of blah, blah, blah from people that "think" they know what their talking about and have the "my opinion is better than yours, nah-nah-nah pshpshpsh." If its not racism, its bad cops, or "OMG he said lions and he's the tamer" WOW! Take the energy and do something with it...positive...go to the zoo, milk a cow, read a book to less fortunate children (yes black and white), or build a gate around your house and say you live in a gated community!

January 31, 2011 at 8:48 p.m.

payingattention wrote: nequen, bitter you sound, previous crimes? The profession of policing has never been more solid and up and up. The police profession has never been more educated, trained, and fair.-

Which goes to show education, training, pretense of fairness is no guarantee of intelligent life-form or compassion for ones fellow man.

January 31, 2011 at 9:10 p.m.
Allison12 said...

IndependentLighthouse,or whatever, This is all I need to know about Mayor Ron Littlefield.

January 31, 2011 at 9:28 p.m.
cannonball said...

Ron Littlefied...what a jerk.

January 31, 2011 at 10:33 p.m.
Wolftever551 said...

I appreciate the discourse this has stimulated. Thank you all.

February 1, 2011 at 7:16 p.m.
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