CPD's new chief sworn in; plans to reduce crime via VRI - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

CPD's new chief sworn in; plans to reduce crime via VRI

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - Chattanooga's new police chief was officially sworn in Thursday afternoon. Chief Fred Fletcher said his number one goal in Chattanooga is reducing crime, under Mayor Berke's Violence Reduction Initiative.

"I am jumping in with both feet," Fletcher said after the ceremony. "We're going to continue to implement the principles of the VRI."

"We'd like to see the crime reduced, violence reduced, all of those things," said city councilman Moses Freeman. "I think we've got the right guy to do this job."

Freeman said support for the Mayor's crime-fighting program among several city and community agencies is already there.

"We've got to get some more now, specifically case management, that's the one area right now we're concerned about," Freeman said.

A Better Tomorrow's contract with the city is in jeopardy after its founder was arrested over the weekend. Its number, handed out on business cards, is no longer affiliated with the VRI. The person who answered Thursday directed all calls to Public Safety Coordinator, Paul Smith.

"I'm fielding those [calls] right now until we have a better option than myself," Smith said.

A new number has already been handed out to everyone already participating in the VRI as well as group members. However it is not being released to the public. City leaders hope a new organization or person will step up.

"We're going to build a bridge between the community and police department that's going to help us prevent crimes as well," Freeman said.

"That's what community policing is all about," said Fletcher. "You and I determining what our common problems are, then working together to focus our resources and efforts to solve those problems."

"That's the kind of policing we're going to practice in Chattanooga."

Fletcher's official start date is the 25th. The city's current Request for Proposal for VRI Case Management Services is open until the 23rd.
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