Chattanooga police chief applicants bring experience from across the country

While there are a half-dozen internal applicants for the Chattanooga Police Department's top position, the 43 other applicants represent a wide range of experience and credentials.

The list of candidates vying to become Chattanooga's next police chief now includes several who spent time policing some of the largest metropolitan areas in the country, including Chicago, Los Angeles and St. Louis, according to the applications

Michael Mealer retired as a police commander from the Chicago Police Department after 32 years. In his application, he wrote he was executive officer to the deputy chief of patrol, "leading eight patrol districts covering one third of the city of Chicago."

In describing his experiences in Chicago, he said he effectively established strategic goals with plans for implementation and built alliances between department personnel, governmental agencies and the community.

During his last assignment, he also led saturation teams for a major portion of the city.

"I used crime data, calls for service information and information reports to assign the teams to various locations within my area of responsibility," he wrote.

"I reviewed the work conducted by the officers and evaluated the oversight by the team sergeants and lieutenant to ensure appropriate methods were being used to address the specific problems."

Representing another of the country's largest police departments is Todd Chamberlain, who has worked for the Los Angeles Police Department for 33 years. He has served as a police commander since 2010.

In his application, Chamberlain wrote that he has experience leading a variety of units as well as overseeing the daily operations of a department.

He said he had "Functional Command over Patrol, Detectives, Gangs, Community Relations, Safer City Initiative, Narcots, all which make up the largest command of the Los Angeles Police Department and includes a total of 430 sworn and civilian members."

Chamberlain also mentioned he worked in partnership with the city attorney's office to implement the "Skid Row" injunction.

The injunction, issued in 2011, identified almost 80 people identified by law enforcement as the area's "most prolific narcotics dealers" and prohibited them from being in the area, possessing drugs or dangerous weapons or selling drugs on skid row, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Also on the list of 49 applicants is Samuel Dotson, who retired earlier this year as police commissioner for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

He said his duties included investigating organized crime activities and providing leadership for a 1,300-member police force "during the longest period of civil unrest in the nation's history and exhaustive 24/7 worldwide media coverage."

That was during and after the 2014 fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., which sparked national protests and heightened public scrutiny of policing in America.

In the work experience section, Dotson wrote: "Changed use-of-force model to include de-escalation and refocused the agency on community outreach and engagement following Ferguson event, August 2014."

Representing the Chattanooga Police Department on the list of applicants are Chief of Staff David Roddy, Assistant Chief Danna Vaughn, Assistant Chief Edwin McPherson, Capt. Jerri Sutton, Capt. Jerome Halbert and Lt. Adrian Gibb.

Current Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher is set to retire Thursday, when his three-year contract expires. His replacement will be chosen from the list of applicants by a five-person committee organized by Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke.

Marissa Bell, a spokeswoman for Berke's office, said Friday the committee still plans to make its recommendation of no more than three candidates to Berke this week. His choice must then be ratified by the Chattanooga City Council.

Contact staff writer Emmett Gienapp at or 423-757-6731. Follow him on Twitter @emmettgienapp.