John Cosgrove

A foundation that has helped area police and sheriff departments in the past buy body cameras, K9 dog vests, firearms simulators and other support equipment is turning its focus this year toward leadership development within area police agencies and helping officers maintain and help one another in their fitness for duty.

Aegis Law Enforcement of Greater Chattanooga Inc., a non-profit group backed by area business leaders and others to support area police agencies, recently hired John Cosgrove as the organization's president and executive director to replace the late Tom Edd Wilson, who died last year.

Dr. Cosgrove, a 64-year-old son of the longest tenured officer for the Michigan State Police, previously served as a senior vice president with UBS in Central Florida, president of Mellon Bank Financial Advisors and a Southeast director for Merrill Lynch before starting The Leadership Workshop in Chattanooga five years ago. Crosgrove is a West Point graduate who served as an Army ranger before entering the financial industry and later earning his doctorate from Andrews University in leadership development.

"John's leadership and organizational skills are recognized nationally, and he has an impressive and impeccable history of successfully directing organizations in a variety of industries," said Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond, the founder of Aegis. "The board of directors is focused on taking Aegis to another level, and we believe he has the proven strategic capabilities to accomplish that."

Cosgrove focuses on purpose-based, value-driven leadership and will help Aegis (taken from the Greek shield of Zeus) provide leadership training and other programs to aid police officers to seek and provide assistance to other officers during difficult times.

"If you are a police officer on the street and you are in a precarious situation where a decision has to be made, you default to your values; and if they are clear and well defined you know what you are going to do," Cosgrove said. "Most of the people we see that are derailed or get in trouble do so not because they don't have the right skill set to do the work; it's because their values are not aligned with the organization."

Cosgrove said he is currently writing a book on leadership skills and traits.

"I am passionate about helping others realize their potential and improving leadership in our communities, which directly relates to the work Aegis achieves," he said.

Aegis has helped in the past to fund law enforcement agencies with training and equipment. Cosgrove said the foundation will continue to look for ways to aid in supporting the work of area police agencies, both city and count, with accredited leadership training programs.

Moving forward, the organization is focusing more on ways to improve the health and wellness of officers, leadership development and advancing technology in law enforcement.

"We will continue to provide equipment and training, but we will extend particular focus on leadership training and officer wellness," Cosgrove said.

After talking with the leaders of police agencies throughout Chattanooga, Cosgrove said "the stresses associated with a career in law enforcement are significant and can affect an officer's personal life and professional performance."

"We must be intentional about providing relief from this pressure and that's what we hope to do with our efforts going forth," he said.

Contact Dave Flessner at or at 757-6340