Chattanooga clergy bring their largest call for accountability, transparency to the steps of the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office

Staff photo by Wyatt Massey / The Rev. William Terry Ladd III, pastor of First Baptist Church, speaks outside the Hamilton County Justice Building on Feb. 15, 2021. Ladd was one of more than 40 local clergy to sign onto the latest letter to Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond asking for improved accountability and transparency from the department.

Chattanooga clergy brought their demand for accountability and transparency from the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office to the doors of the department on Monday morning.

Standing on the steps of the Hamilton County Justice Building, the Rev. William Terry Ladd III, pastor of First Baptist Church, read the latest clergy-led call for Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond to make improvements.

More than 40 local clergy and six organizations signed the letter, which was sent to the sheriff on Sunday and requests the department make public its policies around officer training, use of force and the employment of officers involved in misconduct or excessive use of force.

"City clergy, community organizations, county commissioners and our community at large continue to be alarmed by the clear instances of brutal treatment of citizens of Hamilton County by the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office deputies," Ladd said.