Chattanooga City Council to vote on funds for police management study, crime initiative

Chattanooga City Council to vote on funds for police management study, crime initiative

October 12th, 2013 by Beth Burger in Local Regional News

Chattanooga City Council

Photo by Jenna Walker/Times Free Press.

Chattanooga City Council members are expected Tuesday to consider paying up to $340,000 on two components of Mayor Andy Berke's public safety initiative.

One resolution authorizes a $100,000 expenditure for a top-to-bottom review of the police department by an Alexandria, Va., professional law enforcement association. Council members will also decide whether to OK paying David Kennedy $240,120 to implement a "targeted violent crime reduction strategy modeled after the High Point Initiative."

The department study, if approved, will be conducted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The organization, which specializes in assessing police departments, is staffed with former police chiefs as well as social scientists, the proposal states.

Besides the proposal from the police association, the Novak Consulting Group, Police Executive Research Forum, Matrix Consulting Group and Berkshire Advisors Inc. submitted plans for consideration.

While the departmental review request for proposals generated five responses, the crime reduction strategy request only netted a single response.

The resolution on the city's website has a blank space where Kennedy's name should be. Lacie Stone, spokeswoman for Berke, said, "Because we received one bid (from Kennedy,) the RFP had to be advertised longer. It closed today [Friday], with no additional bids so it will be revised on Monday with Kennedy's name."

A five-member committee evaluated the departmental review proposals. Members of the committee included City Finance Officer Daisy Madison, Police Chief Bobby Dodd, Chief Policy Officer Stacy Richardson, Deputy Chief Operating Officer Brent Goldberg and Purchasing Manager David Carmody. Last week, the committee reviewed categories such as staffing provided for the project and the proposed scope of the project.

Dodd, an association member for 10 years, said he has participated in numerous training sessions the group organizes.

"I've seen a lot of good work and professionalism in that organization," the chief said Friday.

Dodd said he doesn't think there will be any conflict by having a law enforcement organization study the department.

"They have 10,000 or more members. They are not going to sell out their integrity based on one evaluation or management study. I think they'll give us a fair assessment and the mayor the information he's looking for," he said.

The organization said a final report will be issued with findings and ways for the department to reach recommended objectives.

The study will examine patrol staffing and how officers are deployed, the organizational culture of the department and productivity. Recommendations such as how to reduce costs and implement state-of-the-art programs will be included, as well as an overall implementation plan.

Berke has said crime is his top priority as mayor.

"This is an investment in the future of the Chattanooga Police Department. For us to be more effective, we must know where we are starting. This study will serve as a valuable tool, providing focus on areas in need of improvement within the department," he said in a statement in May.

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