Chief Roddy discusses police interaction with minorities

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – Chattanooga Police Chief David Roddy told City Council members this afternoon that his department trains for peaceful encounters with citizens, especially minorities.

The chief was invited to speak during the council strategic session.

During the council session, Chief Roddy said, “We had some concerns expressed by members of council and obviously members of our community just to get a better understanding of how their police department functions. What, what do our policies and procedures look like and how do we come to form those?”

Recent viral arrest videos stir the emotions of most people, and sometimes fail to tell the entire story.

Chattanooga’s Police Chief answered questions about training local officers this afternoon before city council.

District 9 council member Demetrus Coonrod told him some minorities don’t know exactly what to expect from police.

She said, “For me, like we’ve got to start having these real conversations because I most definitely want to get over my fear, and I want, you know, my community to feel safe when they have an interaction with the police department and if they feel the need to call.”

Chief Roddy told the council that his officers try to bridge that communications gap with special training, and off-duty community interactions.

Chief Roddy said, “We believe that the de-escalation model and training that we do has gone a long way in just minimizing that occurrence, and it helps us understand the seriousness of when we do apply force and we don’t, we don’t do it arbitrarily, we have to respond to it.”

How common is the problem in Chattanooga?

According to the chief, “In 2017 there were two hundred and – roughly two hundred and fifty thousand calls for service, where a member of our community, either interacted formally, or requested a police officer’s assistance in something. And out of two hundred and fifty thousand interactions, it resulted in four hundred and six uses of force.”

The Chief says that was just .17 percent of the time.

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