published Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Chattanooga police officers climbing ranks

Promotions at Chattanooga Police Department

Capt. Danna Vaughn

Capt. Brian Cotter

Lt. Samuel Chamberlin

Lt. Jonathan Bryant

Lt. Mark Smeltzer

Lt. Bakari Welles

Sgt. Sarah Moody

Sgt. Gregory Wilhelm

Sgt. Peter Turk

Sgt. John Monroe Jr.

Sgt. Lewis Davis

Sgt. Brian Rodgers

A dozen Chattanooga police officers were notified on Christmas Eve that they would be taking another step up the career ladder.

The promotions, which include ranks of captain, lieutenant and sergeant, will take effect Friday.

"We're just continuing down our lists," said Chattanooga police Chief Bobby Dodd.

The promotion lists were compiled in February and are good until 2015, he said.

A total of 94 officers competed for the rank of sergeant. In 2013, 22 people were promoted to the rank. There were 38 sergeants who vied for the rank of lieutenant. This year, 14 were promoted.

Seven lieutenants applied for the rank of captain. This year, four were promoted.

There are different criteria that must be met for each rank.

Sergeants have to complete a written exam, interviews and an assessment in which they have to explain what decisions they would make in various scenarios.

Lieutenants have to put together professional portfolios, and candidates are given points for certain attributes, including education and seniority. The chief interviews the candidates, as well.

Captains go through a similar process.

Dodd and two members of his command staff, Deputy Chief Tommy Kennedy and Assistant Chief over investigations Kirk Eidson, will retire on Dec. 31. Assistant Chief Randy Dunn, who oversaw patrol, retired earlier.

Until a new police chief is appointed, the command staff positions of deputy chief and two assistant chiefs will remain vacant. Dodd could choose to fill the positions before he retires, but said he will leave them open.

"I could do that, but in all fairness and honesty a new chief coming in could change all of that. One, I don't want to make someone an assistant chief now to have that reversed in a few months. It's not fair to the employee," Dodd said. "Two, it's sort of unfair to the incoming chief. ... As a chief, you want to assess what's going on and who's in what position and know what they're capable of and make your own decision."

In the meantime, Assistant Chief Stan Maffett, who oversees administration and support services, will act as interim chief.

Maffett was promoted to assistant chief in 2007. Next year, he will mark 40 years with the department. Capt. David Woosley will oversee investigations, and Capt. Eric Tucker will oversee patrol.

A ceremony for those who received promotions this week is expected to take place early next year.

Contact staff writer Beth Burger at bburger@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6406. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/abburger.

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