NAACP forming its own panel to help with police chief search

Then-Police Deputy Chief David Roddy, left, is pictured with Chief Fred Fletcher in 2015. Fletcher is retiring in July, and many in the community are "making it loud and clear" they want Roddy, now the department's chief of staff, to be the next chief, according to Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod.

After meeting with the leadership of the local NAACP chapter Friday afternoon, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke elected to not to expand the six-person search committee formed to replace Police Chief Fred Fletcher.

Instead, the organization is putting together its own selection committee, which will work with Berke to provide the input and feedback on the process.

"It will inform the selection questions and scoring used to select candidates," Marissa Bell, a spokeswoman for Berke, wrote in an email.

"Then, the Mayor will meet a second time with the NAACP's selection committee to get feedback on the top candidates."

The day after Berke announced the first committee's formation, Chattanooga NAACP President Dr. Elenora Woods spoke before the Chattanooga City Council and said more should be done in the search process to fully represent the interests of all Chattanoogans, specifically those in black communities.

Friday's meeting was scheduled as a result of that public plea.

"We came up with a compromise we are all very happy with," Woods said after the meeting. "We are going to have our own panel that we are assembling for the mayor so that the NAACP interests can be calculated."

Woods said she is unsure how large the NAACP panel will be, but did say the leadership plans to include representatives from the communities most impacted by violent crime as well as leaders of the faith community.

She also said that, in her mind, the top applicants will likely be Chattanooga Police Chief of Staff David Roddy and Assistant Chief Edwin Mcpherson.

We want to talk to them," she said. "We want to talk to all of them and look at what they will be bringing to the table."