“Walk With Integrity”: Community leaders show support for Chattanooga’s police chief

The submission of 15 officers to the U.S. Attorney for "misrepresentation of facts" caused friction with the police union, and a "lack of confidence" vote

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – The last week for Chattanooga Police Chief Celeste Murphy has been a trying one.

After submitting the names of 15 officers to the U.S. Attorney for misrepresenting facts, the police union decried her actions, giving her a “lack of confidence” vote.

Today, several leaders in the community came together on the steps of City Hall to say they support the Chief with one simple phrase from Rev. Terry Ladd of 1st Baptist Church:

“We pray for Chief Murphy as she continues to (be) walking in integrity.”

Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. Upon becoming Chief of Police in Chattanooga, integrity and transparency were two virtues with which she leads the department. It’s not going unnoticed by community leaders, even while 15 officers are reassigned due to the misrepresentation of facts in cases prior to her coming to the city.

Jenny Hill, the city councilwoman representing District 2 in Chattanooga, says “We have police officers that do a terrific job every day, but when we make mistakes, we have to be held accountable for them.

Dr. Ernest Reid of Second Missionary Baptist Church added this: “Integrity, credibility are all of those virtues that have been a part of her administration, and we are very thankful that she’s here.”

Hill: “Chief Murphy is a woman that has dedicated her life to high-quality policing and integrity, and I stand solidly with her as she works to make sure that our police department is one that every person in Chattanooga can trust.”

Trust in a police department doesn’t come so easily, especially one which says 15 officers were accused of misrepresenting facts. Doctor Reid emphasized what that can mean for any innocent citizen.

“Every day, there are police officers across the country who submit false and misleading statements under oath. These false statements and deceptive statements impact the lives of individuals. Innocent people are sent to jail, and their reputations are destroyed.”

The accused officers have been reassigned to non-enforcement duties with no loss of pay. The police department is investigating the accusations, and may restore the officers to enforcement duties, if the results suggest such actions.

Hill: “The officers, themselves, deserve to be treated with dignity and integrity. We don’t know what happened, so … this, to me today, is definitely about doing the hard work of trust and integrity in a time when it’s easier to run around like chickens with our heads cut off.”

Corliss Cooper, a retired captain from the Chattanooga Police Department concurs. “She’s going to be a good steward for this city, and a good representation as the Chief of Police if she’s given the opportunity to do so. I wish I still had time that I was still working there so that I could work for her.”

We reached out to the police department about the Brady Letters of the 15 officers, but the department says it cannot comment on personnel matters.

In being reassigned, these officers have lost their rank and any chance at promotion until the department or the U.S. Attorney reverses the previous action.

Categories: Chattanooga, Crime, Featured, Hamilton County, Local News