Although the Chattanooga City Council regularly receives reports from the police department, today marks the first one since David Roddy has been sworn in as the city's new police chief.
Sgt. Joshua May, who coordinates the police department's anti-gang efforts, will deliver the report, including a presentation on the mindset of gang members.
"Most gang members will state they aren't a gang, they're a family," May has said in prior presentations he makes several times a week to schools, churches and organizations. The need to understand who gang members are and the way they think is crucial to stopping the violence they cause, May asserts, adding gangs often fill a family void of their members.
May's approach dovetails with the Roddy's overall vision of using community relations, technology and focused deterrence to squash Chattanooga's violent crime.
Roddy outlined those priorities in a recent meeting with the Times Free Press.
"If you look at what is shown, what research is showing to be effective, it is focused deterrence, it's community or problem-solving policing, and it's intelligence-led policing," Roddy said.
Fostering relationships is a core to making a good policeman, Eric Tucker, assistant chief of the neighborhood policing bureau, said at that meeting.
"We try to build that bridge," Tucker said. "We don't want to be seen as an adversary. We want to facilitate dialogue."
Earlier today, the council heard from Lt. Craig Joel, president of the fire and police pension board.
Joel thanked council members for supporting the 2018 budget proposal, which included a tax hike and boosted pension funding.
"This impacts everything," Joel said.
Not only do healthier pensions attract and retain experienced officers, it better secures the futures of their families when they are gone, he said.