Chattanooga voters solidify police advisory committee, loosen home rule in charter amendments

Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / Chattanooga Police Chief David Roddy, right, talks to a protestor at Miller Park on Saturday, May 30, 2020 in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Chattanoogans voted to approve two charter amendments Tuesday, reinforcing the city's police advisory board and allowing county, state and federal government employees to run for elected office in the city.

About 77% of more than 65,000 Chattanoogans who voted on the first amendment voted in favor of adding the city's citizen policy advisory committee to the charter.

"By putting it in the charter, it means that no matter who the mayor is or who the chief of police becomes, it is mandated in our charter that we have to have our police oversight committee," Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod said Wednesday.

Coonrod, a sponsor and advocate for the police board and charter amendment, said Wednesday that the approval of the ordinance shows how seriously Chattanoogans take public safety reform.

"I think it's a step in the right direction toward introducing legislation and policy that shows we're really thinking of what public safety means, and it's not just policing," Coonrod said.