Chief Fletcher remains optimistic during VRI shakeup - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Chief Fletcher remains optimistic during VRI shakeup

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Despite all but one member of the Chattanooga Police Department's Street Crimes Response Team requesting new positions this month, Chief Fred Fletcher says he is optimistic moving forward.

Eleven of the 12 Street Crime Unit members, tasked with carrying out Mayor Berke's VRI, turned in transfer request documents over a nine-day period.

"These are all officers that are very well-respected and very hard-working, who sacrifice and risk for this community every day," said Fletcher, addressing the upcoming vacancies. "I'm very pleased that we are in agreement that there is a unique opportunity for them to be able to serve in a different capacity."

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Between October 5 and October 14, 11 officers requested transferring back to patrol positions.

Channel 3 obtained the job circular for new Street Crime team members. It outlines duties like investigating gang activities and violent crimes. Officers must also obtain a working knowledge of gangs, and associated VRI issues in the city, while leading with a style of policing that transitions between being an officer and a concerned member of the community.

"The Street Crimes Unit is unique because they are not tethered to the radio, and they're able to do more problem-solving," said Fletcher. "Problem-solving policing is one of the core pillars of my policing strategy."

In addition to being on the force for at least three years, interested officers must prepare a PowerPoint presentation on "focused deterrence", which is both Fletcher's policing strategy and the foundation of the VRI.

"We are very pleased, as an organization, to be able to put the right people in the right place," Fletcher said. "We have officers that would like a change of assignment. We are re-organizing units. We are very optimistic that their tremendous skills will be placed where they can do the most good for the department."

Officers who requested transfers will be moved to their new positions at the end of the month. The application deadline to fill their vacancies is October 29.

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