I would like to make a couple of things very clear;
1) I never said that the Police "could not" or "would not" fight the gang problem without better benefits. I was making the point that the continued cuts to the benefits weigh on the minds of Officers while they are doing everything they can to address the issues of gang violance. I have stated in every interview that I have given, that the Police will do what ever it takes to fight these gangs and protect the citizens, and that we stand behind our Chief 100%. Police Officers are citizens too, and the victims of the violance are our friends, neighbors, and families also. The billbords did not go up because of the incident in the park. They went up because of a series of attacks on our benefits.
2) I never said that there was a link between the gang violence and benefits. The point that I was making was that at a time when gang violance is spiking, city hall is cutting benefits for Police.
All of these points, and several others are the reason we have to put up billboards and take other means of action to get the truth out to the public.
We are not asking for anything from the council and mayor that is not reasonable. We are not asking for a big raise, we understand that times are tough and there are citizens all over that are not getting raises. We are asking for our benefits that were taken away to be retsored and left alone. Give Officers the piece of mind that our families are going to be taken care of so that we can concentrate on attacking the violance issues. We should not be wasting time fighting with six figure salery politicians over the benefits of an already under paid police officer. At the same time, when they bring the fight to us we have to, and we will, defend ouselves and our families.
These are some of the points that are always left out of the news articles and TV interviews, and that is why we have to put up billboards and and do other things to get our message out.
The wastful spending, and the constant attack on the foundation of our city (Police, Fire, & Public Works) has got to stop before we loose our city.
What the article does not report is that the Police Officers that were working, were working in addition to their regular shift. Even though they were working "overtime hours" they did not receive "overtime" pay. Officers continue to put their lives on the line even though the Mayor, and council, feel that Officers don't deserve compensation for working overtime.
The Mayor and the city council continues to ignor public safty while the shootings and killing continue to add up. They have ignored the opinions and suggestions from the most experienced public safty officials in Hamilton county, Chief Dodd, Sheriff Hammond, Chief Gobble, and retired Chief Cooper. I guess the Mayor and council know more about Police work than the Police.
The Mayor is the blame for the extreme Officer shortage. When Littlefield took office (six years ago) he cut out the step raises, which affects the Police/Fire Pension. Then he put a highering freeze in play which caused the Police department to be about 70 Officers short, which also affects the ammount of money that Officers can pay into the pension. Then as crime began to go up he cuts overtime at a time when Officers are needed to work longer hours due to the crime. At the same time the mayor and council cut insurance for retirees. Then they took several much needed Officers off of the streets and out of neighborhoods by parking the patrol cars. Now the Mayor and council feel like Police Officers and Fire Fighters do not deserve a retirement and are planning on taking the pension away from them.
The Mayor and city council should be ashamed and their attacks on the Police, and Fire, departments are unacceptable. It is a well know fact that the Mayor is not know for his truthfulness and his distructive actions have got to stop before we loose our city.
The Mayor has stated several times that he is pushing for consolidation. He knows that the citizens do not want this, but he doesn't care. If he can deplete the Police Department down so far that the service can no longer be provided by the Police, then the Sheriff will have to step in and take over, with no vote from the people. That is "FORCED CONSOLIDATION". After "FORCED CONSOLIDATION" there is MORE "FORCED ANNEXATION".
I hope that the citizens will stand up and support the Police, and Fire Fighters, as we defend this city from the Mayor, city council, while trying to fight crime and save lives at the same time.
of Police Officers
I would like to hear what the citizens of Chattanooga and the City Council thinks about possibly forming a committee made up of Patrol Officers, Investigators, and Sergeants that could interview and pick the next Chief. Besides, the Officers will be the ones working for the chief and the Officers know who the best candidates are. The Officers know what has gone wrong in the past and what needs to be improved. The Officers will also know the candidates on a more personal level and what kind of person they really are. This may provide the city and the department with a Chief that really wants to be Chief for the right reasons. It may also prevent us from having a Chief that is just a pawn for the Mayor.