Chattanooga council to consider adding social workers, analysts to police department

Staff photo by Matt Hamilton / Police Chief Celeste Murphy speaks during a news conference on violence reduction on Wednesday, September 14, 2022.

The Chattanooga City Council on Tuesday will hold a hearing about a proposed $924,000 increase to the Police Department's $85 million budget, mostly by using contingency funds but also by transferring some positions from other departments.

The largest increase from other departments would be to add three social workers to expand the crisis co-response team from the lone social worker who has served the entire since its launch earlier this year.

"Currently the Chattanooga Police Department has a co-response team, and it's been wildly successful, given the limited resources that they have," Joda Thongnopnua, the city's chief of staff, told the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

(READ MORE: Chattanooga police launch new mental health co-response unit)

Lt. Tim Tomisek leads the department's crisis co-response team, a program he launched to bring some relief to officers who respond to an average of 30 to 45 mental health calls a week.