In the past, the Chattanooga Police Department has had as many as 120 detectives to investigate crimes ranging from theft to homicide, but now it has just a few more than 80 on the rolls.

Under former Mayor Ron Littlefield, nearly three years went by without the department holding a police academy for cadets. The priority shifted to patrol, the backbone of the department: Officers must answer calls for service, police Chief Bobby Dodd said.

"When you're pulling folks to deal with street-level crime or deal with calls for service, you're going to have to pull from investigations," Dodd said.

Mayor Andy Berke's proposed budget would add 40 officers, allowing for 20 more detectives to work cases. But that won't even fill the existing vacancies in the ranks, much less beef them up, department figures show.

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