Leadership Chattanooga Alumni Spotlight: Police Chief David Roddy

Leadership Chattanooga is a 10-month leadership development program that allows local professionals opportunities to learn more about and engage with the community where they live and work. Leadership Chattanooga has been a launching pad for the careers and civic impact of some of Chattanooga’s most prominent professionals. We’re here to share their stories and catch up on what’s happened since they completed the program.

This month, Chattanooga Police Department’s Chief of Police David Roddy shares some insights into his approach to leadership.

Trend: When did you graduate from Leadership Chattanooga?

Roddy: 2012

Trend: Tell us a about yourself. What do you do (for work and for fun)?

Roddy: I am the Chief of Police for the Chattanooga Police Department. I have the distinct privilege and honor of working with some of the most amazing and heroic people in the city. The level of sacrifice, compassion and selfless service I am witness to inspires me to be a better person every day. I also have an even greater honor being a husband and father of two daughters. This is the focus of my energy, to spend time with them. Whether it’s church, a fitness activity, a sporting event or just time together as a family, I am always grateful for my time with them. 

Trend: What drew you to the Leadership Chattanooga program when you applied?

Roddy: I was seeking to develop an understanding of my city outside of law enforcement. Most police department leadership do a great job of understanding our own industry, but if law enforcement is to stay progressive and engaged, it must really dig into the city and the people that we serve. 

Trend: How has your career been impacted by the program?

Roddy: Tremendously. I have a much better understanding of how government and law enforcement connects with and relies on collaborative relationships to not only identify safety issues and address them, but also the reliance on being proactive in predicting issues in a city and getting in front of them with community partners.

Trend: What new measures has CPD implemented to ensure everyone is treated fairly and respectfully? 

Roddy: The Chattanooga Police Department recently conducted a comparison of its policies with #8cantwait and Campaign Zero police reform campaign principles. After review, CPD added specific language regarding Duty to Intervene to its Code of Conduct policy. The other recommended principles have been in place at CPD for some time. Those include banning choke holds, requiring de-escalation, requiring a warning before shooting, exhausting all alternatives before shooting, banning shooting at moving vehicles, requiring use of force continuum, and requiring comprehensive reporting. The department continues to review its policies annually to be in line with requirements by state and national law enforcement agencies. The #8cantwait and Campaign Zero principles along with corresponding CPD policy can be found at https://chacity/cpdpolicies.

Additionally, CPD and City of Chattanooga's Office of Performance Management and Open Data added a Policing and Racial Equity Dashboard to its website. The dashboard is a result of analyzing citation, arrest, use of force and internal affairs data. It is also the beginning of conversations and analysis of where changes are needed and can be made in law enforcement, the court system and through legislation. 

Trend: How can local citizens support these changes or share their ideas with CPD?

Roddy: Community members can share their support or ideas by calling 423.643.5000 and the operator can route them to the appropriate office or department. Complaints for officer misconduct as well as commendations for exemplary performance can be made to CPD's Internal Affairs Unit at 423.643.6240 or emailed to [email protected]. Submissions can also be made in the free Chattanooga PD Mobile app under the Submit a Tip icon. 

Trend: Name one way you think you have impacted the community.

Roddy: I believe one of the greatest reflections on my time as Chief is encouraging our officers and community to get to know one another, to be there in both good and bad times. From implementation of our Front Porch Line Up program, to generating interest in our officers seeking engagement with our community’s youth to simply being present, I truly feel the positive energy whenever I see our officers out in our city. The partnerships that have been built and continue to strengthen are evidence of the support our city has for its law enforcement. 

Trend: What practices do you follow (personally or professionally) that help you achieve success?

Roddy: Faith, family and fitness — striving to keep a balance between work and personal life while using the energy built from that to develop habits and initiatives to be a little better than I was yesterday. All while remembering that courage and vulnerability are necessary to lead from a healthy perspective for yourself and those that rely on you. 

Trend: What advice would you give someone who is looking for ways to become more connected to the community?

Roddy: Dig In! Chattanooga is an amazing city with one of its greatest strengths being how interconnected we are in our professional pursuits, our personal interests and our love for our city. Find the parts that work for you and get in there.

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