Future Looking Fuzzy For Chattanooga PD
By Megan Boatwright
Channel 3 Eyewitness News Reporter
Tuesday night, the city council voted not to keep Chief Freeman Cooper for another three years. The chief announced his retirement. Mayor Ron Littlefield had hoped to keep Cooper on for another three years.
Wednesday is Chief Cooper's last day. Deputy Chief Mark Rawlston will take over as the interium police chief Thursday.
There's lots of familiar stereotypical names out there for the familiar government housing apartments in East Lake. 'The projects', 'the hood', 'the other side of tracks'. To Stanley Jackson it's where he's lived since 1993.
"This gang issue it getting worse and police need to step it up," Jackson said Wednesday.
We all know gangs are an issue, but Jackson lives in the middle of it everyday.
"I see guys walking by and watching for when people leave," Jackson said. "I see it even more now that I'm out of work".
The feeling of always being on edge in your own home. "I really don't feel safe," he said. "I'm always watching and looking around."
It's what Jackson and his friend Kevin Rosenbaum experience everyday.
"I've heard about people gettin' shoot," said Rosenbaum. "I've heard about theft and burglary in this area."
With all the recent violence it would be easy to think crime is on it's way up in Chattanooga, but the truth is recent FBI statistics show rates are about the same. That doesn't mean Chattanooga's crime rate isn't high for a city it's size. It just means it hasn't gotten any worse.
So what does Tuesday night's city council meeting mean? Channel 3 asked Mayor Littlefield Wednesday, and the answers remain unknown.
Littlefield's spokesman says they don't know how long Deputy Chief Mark Rawlston will serve as interim police chief. The city also doesn't know whether or not a new chief will be hired. Stanley Jackson doesn't know either, but he's hoping.
"I hope this new chief can do something about what's going on," he said. "I hope he'll do a better job than the one that just left. We'll see."