HCSO responds to Chattanooga clergy group

HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) – On Wednesday, Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond responded to the Chattanooga Clergy for Justice.

At a press conference Monday, religious leaders once again requested Hammond’s resignation.

They also demanded the sheriff present information to the public on policies, procedures and training by March 12th.

“Since you were elected in 2008, More than 19 violations involving your deputies have been reported and documented,” Pastor Terry Ladd said.

Over the last few years, deputies have been accused of using excessive force on multiple occasions.

Most recently in the news, a situation of possible excessive use of force was investigated.

After it was reviewed, no charges were filed against the officers, but the district attorney general said the “case revealed substantial training issues.”

In Sheriff Hammond’s response to the clergy group he responded to their requests.

Part of his letter reads:

Throughout my career, I have developed numerous, longstanding relationships with members of our local clergy and value the insight they have offered regarding community relations. Through this insight and our own proactive measures, the HCSO has made improvements to our policies and procedures and enhanced our training in certain areas.

I recently received a letter from the Chattanooga Clergy for Justice in which my office is accused of resisting public calls for information in the form of “silence” when official HCSO policies are requested. to be clear, any citizen of the state of Tennessee is able to request copies of specific HCSO policies through an open records request pursuant to the Tennessee Public Records Act. We provide policies and similar records each time they are requested through the public records act, as we have a statutory obligation to do so. We often receive these requests by the local media and are quick to comply when a specific policy is requested. We recently implemented a new online organizational tool, PowerDMS, so that we can soon make HCSO policies available to the public without requiring a records request. We look forward to this information being accessible to the public as we believe it will be informative and beneficial to the community and also will be more efficient for the HCSO.

News 12 reached out to the clergy group about the response, they declined to comment and said that they need time to review the letter. You can read the full response from the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office below.

[pdf-embedder url=”https://wdef.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Letter-Response-from-Sheriff-Jim-Hammond-RE-Chattanooga-Clergy-for-Justice.pdf” title=”Letter Response from Sheriff Jim Hammond”]

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