The choice for Chattanooga's next chief of police is Fred Fletcher of Austin, Texas, according to a news release emailed to Channel 3 Eyewitness News. Fletcher has 20 years of experience in law enforcement and has served in an executive, command, or supervisory role for 12 years. As Commander in Region III of the Austin Police Department, Fletcher spearheaded community initiatives including a drug market intervention.

“I have made public safety my top priority since day one and I have every confidence that Fred is the right person to join me in that effort” said Mayor Berke. “This is an important moment for the future of our city. Fred is a smart, energetic individual who had the experience, skills, and energy we need leading the talented men and women at the Chattanooga Police Department.”

In Fletcher's current position, he commands 218 sworn personnel including patrol, investigative, undercover street crimes and community policing units, in a region of Austin with a population of 170,000 citizens. Austin is the fourth largest city in Texas with a total population of over 800,000. 

Fletcher’s Region III saw a 14% reduction in crime from 2012 to 2013 and Austin has been named the second safest large city in the nation, the release said. 

The Chattanooga City Council will vote in the coming weeks on whether to confirm the search firm's recommendation.