Union representing East Ridge officers claims lack of necessary supplies, department denies allegations
A union representing most of the East Ridge police force claims the department does not have enough supplies needed to do their job.
Police department leaders told Channel 3 that's not true.
The police union said officers have tried to speak with their supervisors about several issues for months, but no one appeared to be listening. That's why they formed the union in March.
Channel 3 took those concerns to the assistant chief who said the department is willing to buy those supplies, but he has only been approached once about it.
Forty-five sworn police officers work for the East Ridge Police Department. Thirty-five are now part of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers.
The union claims officers are lacking necessary equipment like rubber gloves that are used at crime scenes.
“We want our officers safe. We want them to be given the equipment needed to do their job and that way they can take care of the citizens,” Vincent Champion, Southeast Regional Director for the International Brotherhood of Police Officers said.
Assistant Police Chief Stan Allen said he doesn't understand where these allegations are coming from.
He was asked last year to give supervisors a box of gloves for each officer. He says that's the last he heard about the issue.
"We've got gloves to be given out to supervisors to give to the officers when they're needed. Most officers have a pouch on their belt that they can carry two or three pairs of gloves with them,” Assistant Chief Stan Allen said.
The other issue brought up by the union was that each officer did not have a patrol cruiser. Allen denies that and said every officer does have a take home car.
When a car is in the shop, that's when they might run low.
"Sometimes they break down and we have to get those repaired. We don't have a very large fleet outside of the cars assigned, so sometimes we run a little bit short,” Allen said.
The community is now stepping in after hearing about these concerns. They're holding an event this weekend in hopes of raising enough money to buy the necessary supplies.
"I do think it's sad that the citizens have to raise money to get equipment for the police department,” Champion said.
"The community's great. We have a great community here. If that's something they want to do, that's wonderful,” Allen said.
The police union also said there weren't enough training cartridges to get officers re-certified on tasers.
The assistant chief said they do have the money to buy the cartridges and will conduct the training soon.