City leaders want to educate community about police work
The idea was part of a larger conversation with Chief David Roddy about use of force after two cell phone videos surfaced on social media recently prompting council members to question CPD's policies.
Two cell phone videos showing Chattanooga police officers using force prompted a meeting between city council members and police.
Both sides agree, more can be done to help prevent situations from escalating.
City council members asked for conversations in schools and youth development centers as well as educational YouTube videos about what is expected during a traffic stop, all in an effort to help ease fears on both sides.
The need became apparent while Roddy met with council members during a Strategic Planning Meeting Tuesday.
"Are we explaining to the individual in the car what that citation means and reading to the individual so they have a clear understanding?" District 9 Council Member Demetrus Coonrod asked during the meeting.
"I honestly don't know what my role is," District 4 Council member Darrin Ledford added during the meeting.
Some people in the community don't know what is expected of them when approached by a police officer.
That's why the city wants to work with police to help explain the roles of officers and citizens.
"What is an officer thinking as they move into a situation but also what is that community member feeling as they engage with us," Chief David Roddy said.
The idea was part of a larger conversation with Roddy about use of force after two cell phone videos surfaced on social media recently prompting council members to question CPD's policies.
"When you see what looks to be an officer's response to resistance escalates quickly, that's done deliberately. It's meant to move this to a conclusion as quickly as we can because it's safer for us and the person we're dealing with," Chief David Roddy said.
Of the 250,000 calls to Chattanooga police last year, Roddy said about 400 required use of force. Eight complaints were filed by citizens about the use of force.
Each report will be reviewed by a superior to determine if the use of force was justified.
In Tuesday's meeting, Roddy explained how an officer is trained to deescalate situations and only use force as a last resort.
He hopes a better understanding will help ease the fears that can come with an average traffic stop or conversation with his officers.
"And by taking that cause or unknown, that cause of anxiety away from that, then as I explained in the room to council, then everybody starts at a zero and things aren't quite so tense beginning and that's going to obviously help us reach a better resolution," Chief David Roddy said.
There is not a hard time line right now as to what happens next.
Roddy said he wants to find a way to immediately start having these kinds of conversations in the community.
More concrete plans will come with the help of council members in the future.
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