Bringing more diversity to Chattanooga’s police department
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee (WDEF) — News 12 has taken a closer look at a new program designed to recruit more minorities into the Chattanooga Police Academy.
The program is called Each One Reach One.
As it stands right now, less than 18-percent of the Chattanooga police force is made up of black officers but the new program is supposed to help increase that percentage.
Gang violence in Chattanooga’s predominantly African American neighborhoods has become an all too often scene. A lot of the officers assigned to patrol those areas or investigate violence are not from those neighborhoods.
“All of our officers are great at learning to engage the community and building relationships, but it takes time. If you are someone who grew up in our community, particularly in our mostly at-risk communities, we would like to accelerate that process and the best way to that is hire people who are of our community; who from our community and who understand the needs of our community. They could help the police department learn as well,” said Police Chief Fred Fletcher.
The Each One Reach One initiative is expected to make that happen by recruiting qualified applicants into the police academy. CPD along with the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga have begun an aggressive campaign to attract minorities interested in a career in law enforcement.
“Right now that means black and Hispanic; African American and Latino,” Fletcher said.
“We just have a multitude of partners in the community who are working with us and engaged every day in terms of making sure that we have total engagement and that everybody is going to be involved in this network,” said Urban League President Warren Long.
As it stands right now, the racial make up within the Chattanooga Police Department doesn’t fully represent Chattanooga’s diverse population.
There are a total of 454 officers on the police force. More than 350 are white. Only 75 offices within the force are black. The remaining 25 are either Hispanic or Asian. If the Each One Reach One initiative proves successful, those numbers will change and possibly the faces assigned to Chattanooga’s hot spots.