By Eric Wise, Assistant News Editor—
Former acting Police Chief David Roddy was officially sworn-in on Thursday as Chattanooga Police Chief.
The ceremony took place in UTC’s Roland Hayes Auditorium, located in the Fine Arts Center. City officials, community members, Chattanooga’s City Council members and current and former police officers filled the auditorium until there was only standing room left. Both former Police Chief Fred Fletcher and Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke were in attendance.
The ceremony began with a showing of the colors by Chattanooga Police Department officers and a pledge of allegiance started by Roddy’s daughters, Madison and Lauren. Following the pledge, Fred Fletcher took to the podium to speak about his working relationship with Chief Roddy.
“Any successes we have enjoyed over the years have been because of [Chief Roddy’s] partnership,” he said. “David Roddy was always by my side, just as he has been for you and the rest of our community.”
“It really hit home when, as a teenager, [Roddy] saw a classmate being picked on to the point of being physically assaulted, and he tried to help,” Berke said. “Because he understands and remembers why he does this every day, that’s why he is going to be a great chief.”
Chief David Roddy was surrounded by his family as he was sworn in. He gave his wife a kiss, and both his daughters a hug before he gave his remarks about being police chief and his experiences with the department.
“I want you to know that I will continue the Chattanooga Police Department’s commitment to developing community partnerships, engaging in problem solving and implementing community policing organizational features,” Chief Roddy said. “We must build trust in order to maintain public safety and effective policing.”
He went on to talk about how Chattanooga comes together during times of tragedy.
“We know Chattanooga is a strong community, and we come together in times of need to support one another,” he said. “After the terrorist attack on July 16, I’ve seen it; after the Woodmore bus crash, I’ve seen it.”
Chief Roddy took time to speak about the events unfolding in Houston, Texas due to Hurricane Harvey. He spoke about Houston Police Sergeant Steve Perez who gave his life while trying to save others from the flooding.
“As Sergeant Perez left his family to report for duty earlier this week, he told [them] ‘I have to go. I have work to do,'” Chief Roddy said. “Your Chattanooga Police Department is full of officers with the same determination as Sergeant Perez. I am proud to serve with them, and I am proud to serve as your Chattanooga Police Chief.”