New Chattanooga police chief "well equipped for challenges" - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

New Chattanooga police chief "well equipped for challenges"

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - The Chattanooga City Council unanimously approved Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke's selection of Fred Fletcher as new chief of police.

Fletcher says he's well prepared for the challenges he faces.

"It's clear from the numbers that violence is affecting perception of and reality of public safety in Chattanooga."

Fletcher says he's ready to jump in and try to remedy that. Educated at the University of Texas, he says his 20 years on the Austin police force have prepared him to be top cop in the Scenic City.

"To think that I'm coming in here with big city ideas is presumptuous. I'm coming here to learn from the community and to learn what my years of experience in another format, in another environment, can do to help the police department be the best police department it can be."

Fletcher was drawn to Chattanooga by the outdoor opportunities and quality of life the city offers, and he calls many of the programs in place, including Mayor Berke's Violence Reduction Initiative, progressive.

"Some of the technology we're using for crime scenes, some of the things we're doing for traffic enforcement are cutting-edge progressive."

But, a bit of stark reality on the day he takes the job - a woman was shot and killed in College Hill Courts Tuesday.

"None of those other great things we talked about matter if people are dying and are not feeling safe in their homes and in the streets."

With a unanimous vote of the city council and a round of applause, Fred Fletcher was confirmed and appointed Tuesday evening. He's expected to be behind his desk at police services next month.

"Professionally, it's a great opportunity to succeed, and personally, it's a place that feels like home, already."
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