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Crystal or Christol clear?

The Red Bank Police Department may have closed its internal investigation into the actions of former Officer Doug Millsaps with his resignation last week, but some of the actions involving Millsaps' drunken participation in firearms training should give the public pause.

The first is that the former officer faces no charges after, among other things, apparently driving while intoxicated to the training, possessing a handgun while intoxicated and being intoxicated while on duty, and the second is that fellow Red Bank Sgt. Dan Seymour did not fill out the proper identifying information while testing Millsaps on the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's intoxilyzer, which kept him out of official test records.

Red Bank Police Chief Tim Christol told Times Free Press reporter Shelly Bradbury the incident was "shocking" but thought it was handled appropriately.

If it were any other situation involving a drunk employee with a gun, where the police are concerned, an arrest almost surely would have been made.

The action comes on the heels of Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston's decision to turn over to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation a video of an April arrest when Candido Medina-Resendiz was beaten by Red Bank police following a traffic stop. One of the reasons the TBI was asked to get involved was the unavailability of the video during early court proceedings.

It was not available before Medina-Resendiz had a July preliminary hearing or before his August grand jury appearance and did not arrive in the DA's office until Sept. 15.

The TBI may decide nothing was untoward in the April incident, and Millsaps' resignation may indeed close the books on his actions (though he personally should seek help) in last week's episode, but Christol at least should review the policies and procedures of his department and make sure everyone's on the same page before a third black eye is rendered.

Any devils in the details?

The details may make or break the deal, but a land swap Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Rick Smith proposed with the city of Chattanooga on Monday seems to make sense for both parties.

The school district would give the city the little used former Mary Ann Garber Elementary School in East Chattanooga in exchange for property adjacent to the former Maurice Poss Homes site off South Market Street that it acquired from the city earlier this year.

That property in question is a church, New Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church, which the city would buy and turn over to Hamilton County Schools, which wants to build an athletic complex there for adjacent Howard High School. The church, which sits well back from Market Street, wants a more visible site.

The 5-acre Mary Ann Garber site is next to the former 19.9-acre Harriet Tubman public housing complex, which the city bought earlier this year and would like to use for industry which might offer area residents job opportunities.

We would hope any such deal - and the negotiations thereof - would lack the delays, charges and countercharges that punctuated the $11-plus million liquor taxes settlement deal the city and the school district signed this summer after nearly a year.

All that's at stake, after all, are much desired jobs in one part of the city and a long-overdue athletic complex in another.

Planning (not) to fail

On the whole, property development and building are good for a city. They stimulate the economy with initial land development and construction jobs and, depending on what's being developed, can offer long-term jobs and tax revenue for a city or county.

So it's important for the front-end of such work to include as much input as possible from community members, neighbors and oversight boards.

That's what happened Monday when two large projects, a boutique hotel near the foot of the Walnut Street Bridge, and a commercial development at the busy-and-getting-busier corner of East Brainerd Road and Ooltewah-Ringgold Road, were approved by the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency.

Neither project survived initial scrutiny but were sent back to the drawing board for improvements that would add, for the hotel, a parking garage, pedestrian and bike-friendly walkways, a park-like green space and a vehicle turnaround, and for the commercial development, no apartments, but the addition of turn lanes, traffic lights, green breaks and trees.

The result is two developments that will enhance the area, offer jobs and tax revenue, and give a sense of satisfaction to those who felt their concerns were heard, understood and acted upon.

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