Familiar names appear among applicants for Chattanooga police chief

With just hours to go before the final application deadline, several familiar faces are among the 43 applicants for Chattanooga police chief, including three members of the current department's top brass.

Included on the list are David Roddy, the police department's chief of staff; Danna Vaughn, assistant chief of the special operations bureau; and Edwin McPherson, assistant chief of the criminal investigation bureau. Vaughn is one of two women who have applied.

Also on the list is Former Red Bank Police Department Chief Tim Christol, who was fired in May for "personnel matters," according to Red Bank City Manager Randall Smith.

Christol had been the city's police chief since 2010 and has worked in law enforcement for about 40 years, previously serving as police chief in Fletcher, N.C., and assistant chief deputy of the Knox County Sheriff's Department.

Originally, applicants were asked to submit their materials by June 9, but the position was reposted with a new deadline of 11:30 a.m. today. There are nine people listed who applied after the deadline that was originally set.

Applicants also no longer must have a bachelor degree. City spokeswoman Marissa Bell said the modification was made at the request of the five-person search committee organized by Berke to guide the hiring process.

The committee had included Hamilton County General Sessions Judge Christie Sell, who "previously recused herself from the committee to ensure judicial appropriateness and to avoid a risk of conflict or appearance of impropriety," according to a Friday email from Bell.

The minimum qualifications section online for the police chief position also now reads: "Fourteen (14) years of any combination of relevant education, training or experience sufficient to perform the essential duties of the job will be considered.

"Examples of relevant experience include progressively responsible supervisory work and/or training in law enforcement, criminal investigations, and police administration through the ranks of Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Captain, with seven years at a management level."

The original six-person search committee was formed by Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke after current Chattanooga police Chief Fred Fletcher, announced in April his intent to retire at the end of his contract on July 6. He cited personal reasons for his departure.

The committee will review and vet the applicants and recommend no more than three finalists to Berke. The Chattanooga City Council will vote on ratification of his choice.

Guiding some of the committee's search process will be the findings of a community survey released online by the city several weeks ago. A total of 225 people completed the questionnaire, which asked what the highest priorities should be for the new police chief.

"The majority of respondents ranked 'reducing violent crimes like assaults' highest, followed by 'reducing shootings, building relationships with neighborhoods, increased training, reducing sexual assault and reducing domestic violence,'" Bell wrote in an email. "'Reducing property crime' ranked seventh."

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