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Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, right, announces David Roddy, left, as Chattanooga's new chief of police during a news conference Friday.
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The city's new chief: Roddy picked to lead police deparment

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Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke announced Friday David Roddy, the man who has been acting police chief for the past month, is his pick to permanently fill the spot.

Berke chose Roddy over Assistant Chief Edwin McPherson, another member of the Chattanooga Police Department's senior administration, and Capt. Todd Chamberlain of the Los Angeles Police Department.

All three men were finalists submitted to Berke by a five-person search committee that whittled down a list of 49 applicants from across the country. Six of those applications came from people employed with the department.

"As I thought about what we wanted in a police chief, I thought we needed somebody who's worthy, who's worthy of the people who do this," Berke said during the Friday news conference.

"We need somebody who is there to help inspire these officers every single night as they risk their lives on behalf of our community and the people they serve," he added.

The selection of Roddy as chief signals a continuation of policies and objectives championed by former police Chief Fred Fletcher, who picked Roddy to be his chief of staff three years ago.

Berke underscored some of those priorities, including victim services and community policing, saying Roddy's understanding of their importance, combined with his organizational know-how, made him the right candidate.

Roddy himself vowed to pick up the baton and push forward on initiatives that leverage technology and community relationships to better serve citizens.

"I want to assure the members of this community that under my leadership, the Chattanooga Police Department will continue to seek out troubled relationships and make them stronger, identify stakeholders to build trusting partnerships, and fulfill our mission of keeping you, your family and our community safe," he said.

"We will continue to use technology, intelligence-led and community policing to make us more efficient, effective and a trustworthy department — a progressive police department and the police department that Chattanoogans expect and deserve."

He said the one word he would like to define the department is "focus." He said officers have used a policy of focused deterrence to address violent crime and the same philosophy will be used elsewhere.

"It's this same focus that the CPD will use in other areas, by addressing concerns in our neighborhoods to creating positive interactions on front porches to being a single point of mentoring to our youth."

Over the course of 23 years in the Chattanooga Police Department, Roddy worked his way up from being a patrol officer and previously served as a captain over several divisions, including uniformed services and internal affairs.

McPherson was the only other finalist who was a member of the department's top brass and he, too, has more than two decades of law enforcement experience in Chattanooga. He has held several command positions, including assistant chief of the criminal investigations bureau.

Additionally, he was recommended to Berke by a special committee formed by local NAACP representatives to assist the search for a new chief. Both Roddy and McPherson were interviewed by the panel, but McPherson walked away with the NAACP endorsement.

On Friday, McPherson declined to comment for this story. Berke, however, thanked him for his service to the city.

"For those of you who know Chief McPherson, you know that he has a passion for the community," he said.

"He's somebody who is always on the streets, knows what's going on. He has done so much for our department over the course of decades and I know he will do so much more, and we appreciate him very, very much. We thank him for his ideas."

Chamberlain was the only external candidate who made it to the final three. He offered more than 30 years of experience with one of the nation's largest metropolitan police departments, where he has served as a police commander since 2010.

Roddy's former boss, Fletcher, offered praise and congratulations to the new chief, a man he worked with closely all three years he was with the department.

"I could not be happier for Chief Roddy, the Chattanooga Police Department and our community," he said.

"Chief Roddy is a better leader than I will ever be and as fine a human being as I've ever known. He will continue to serve selflessly with compassion and integrity and we will be safer for it."

Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond was also more than satisfied with the decision and said he's looking forward to working with Roddy over the coming months and years.

"I'm pleased. I've known David for a long time," he said. "Chief Roddy is articulate, he's professional, he's a very good image. He is not one who makes hasty decisions, so I think all that's going to come to bear on making him a really good police chief."

Berke's choice still needs to be ratified by the Chattanooga City Council, which he said he expects will happen within the next few weeks. As acting chief, Roddy will continue to serve in that role until he is confirmed.

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

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