Chattanooga Voters Approve Charter Amendment For Police Oversight Committee

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – While the committee was approved unanimously by the current council, Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod said the amendment was necessary to ensure its existence under future mayors and councils.

Coonrod, who sponsored the amendment, said Wednesday that the approval of the ordinance shows just how seriously Chattanoogans take public safety reform.

The subject of police brutality and additional law enforcement oversight has become a major issue nationwide, especially after numerous protests over the summer.

“Ordinances they can change at any given time, right? So with the severity of the issue of police brutality and our constituents feeling really uneasy with our police department and we haven’t just glued or built that positive relationship with them, it was important to have a place in the charter,” says Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod.

While its formation was approved unanimously by the current council, Coonrod said the charter amendment was necessary to safeguard its existence under future mayoral administrations and councils.

Still, Coonrod wants to see further police oversight authority for the board and council, with help specifically from the state.

“There’s no right way to say what an effective police oversight must look like, but the things that I do know that we do have to have in it is I believe that it needs to have its own independence, we most definitely gotta make sure that it has adequate funding in order to do the things that we need it to do we have to have the people that are serving on the board have to have access to the critical information, they have to build a report,” says Coonrod.

Coonrod says that the charter was in high demand from her constituents, and that the formation of the committee was a long time coming.

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