One-on-one with Chattanooga's next police chief - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

One-on-one with Chattanooga's next police chief

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Fred Fletcher, selected as Chattanooga's Police Chief. Photo by Tim McCurry/ Fred Fletcher, selected as Chattanooga's Police Chief. Photo by Tim McCurry/
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - Nearly five months after former Chief Bobby Dodd's resignation, Mayor Andy Berke has selected Fred Fletcher to serve as Chattanooga's next top cop.

Fletcher comes from Austin, Texas with 20 years in law enforcement and most recently serving as a police commander over a district a population close to Chattanooga's. Mayor Berke picked him from a pool of about 75 candidates from across the country, with a handful from within the local police department.

Fletcher is taking a small pay cut to uproot his wife and dog and move to Chattanooga. Once he arrives, he has his work cut out for him. In 2013, Chattanooga had 19 homicides; whereas, Austin had 21 homicides, he said. Those are comparable numbers but Austin is almost four times the size of Chattanooga. He thinks the mayor's Violence Reduction Initiative, or VRI, will work, pointing to a similar second-chance philosophy they used in Austin. He said to wait 2 years for noticeable improvements on the streets.

Fletcher sat down with Channel 3 Eyewitness News reporter Dan Kennedy Friday morning to discuss why he's the right man for the job. You can watch parts of that interview Friday on Live at 5 and Eyewitness News at 6.

On Mayor's Violence Reduction Initiative...
"The principles are proven. I have success with them. I have experience implementing them and they will be successful. We need to work together as a community deploying all of our resources making sure its as successful as it can be. Our commitment is to reduce violent crime in Chattanooga. That's our number one priority right now."

On Crime Close to Home...
"No matter what our success rate is on reducing violent crime, if it happens to your or your family, that's just not a reasonable number. So our goal is to have everyone feel safe."

On Hearing Feedback From Citizens...
"I consider that to be a fundamental part of my policing programs is feedback from of the programs I believe can be successful and the manner in which the community would like them implemented... The community wants to feel safe and be safe so that they can be the greatest possible Chattanooga they can be."

On Georgia's New Gun Law and it's Affect on Chattanooga...
"If there's a law that's in place in Georgia and not in Tennessee, our job is to evolve with those laws and if we need to do additional enforcement to ensure the Chattanooga community is safe, and safe in a manner in which they concur, then that's what we'll do."

On Leaving Austin...
"The Austin I fell in love with is getting buried under the 11th biggest city in the country. It's a wonderful place, it's an absolutely wonderful place. It's a fantastic destination and home for people. But Chattanooga offers a lot of the things that I love, which is a community you can literally and figuratively get your arms around, a community that does big things, that solves big problems, that has a history of coming together to make good changes and you've got an outdoor mecca that is second to none in the United States."
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