Chattanooga Police Department

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chief of Police


The City of Chattanooga is seeking a proven leader who can inspire the confidence of the community and police officers as our Police Chief. The ideal candidate will be innovative and compassionate, and committed to using community-focused, data-informed, and victim-centered policing strategies to guide the application of the principles of community policing to reduce crime and deliver excellent police services to all the residents of Chattanooga.  

Located in Southeast Tennessee at the Georgia border, our city of 180,000 (within a larger metropolitan area of roughly 500,000) has received national recognition for the renaissance of its downtown and redevelopment of its riverfront. Notable for its scenic beauty, growing economy, civic vitality, cross-sector partnerships and fiscal integrity, Chattanooga is blessed with a low cost of living and a high quality of life, making it one of the most admired mid-size cities in the United States. In the last decade, Chattanooga has won 3 national awards for outstanding livability, and 9 Gunther Blue Ribbon Awards for excellence in housing and consolidated planning.

Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly (inaugurated on 4/19/21) has made public safety a top priority, has increased funding to the police department, and stands ready to support new departmental leadership. Our two most recent Chiefs voluntarily retired under positive circumstances and stand ready to advocate for the position and for our community.

The Chattanooga Police Department has 475 sworn and 115 professional staff members and a budget of $71 million. In September 2021, the Chattanooga City Council approved a budget for fiscal year 2021-2022, which included a 24% increase in pay for all police officers.

The Chief of Police, who reports directly to the Mayor, must possess:

  • An open mind, a big heart, and the leadership skills and tenacity to identify and implement new programs, policies, and procedures.
  • Demonstrated competencies in effective leadership and building strong relationships within the community and among rank and file officers, and the ability to inspire confidence as a representative of the police department and the city.  
  • A fundamental commitment to community accountability and the principles of community policing.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills, and a demonstrated capacity to be visible within the department and out in the community. 
  • Demonstrated commitment to and experience in building trust with diverse communities, through engagement and transparency, as well as a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusiveness throughout the organization.
  • Demonstrated aptitude for seeking creative, partnership-driven approaches with other area organizations that improve community health and safety.
  • Extensive experience and demonstrable skill at reducing violent crime.
  • Demonstrated competency in data-driven policing and evidence-based strategies, systems, and technologies to optimize the delivery of police services to the community.
  • An understanding of the roots of public safety, including a philosophy of supporting and engaging with youth.
  • A commitment to continuous training and staff development, particularly for those on the front lines, with an emphasis on de-escalation of conflict, constitutional policing, trauma-informed strategies, and victim-centered approaches for the delivery of safe and effective service.
  • A history of developing and maximizing the talent in the department and being dedicated to developing future generations of leaders at all ranks.
  • An understanding of and commitment to the recommendations contained in the Final Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

The position requires a four-year college degree. Progressively responsible command-level experience in policing in an urban community and knowledge of best practices in policing are prerequisites. A graduate-level degree would be an asset, but a demonstrated commitment to lifelong learning and genuine curiosity around innovating in the field of policing are most important. Specialized leadership education, such as the Senior Management Institute for Police (SMIP), FBI National Academy, or the Southern Police Institute, are also a plus.

Salary Range: $145,000 to $170,000 per year, plus a very competitive fringe benefits package.

Interested and qualified candidates should apply by December 13, 2021 with cover letter, resumé and a list of five references in confidence to:

[email protected]

The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) is assisting the city in the selection process. Please contact Rebecca Neuburger at (202)997-6287 or [email protected] with questions.

 Chattanooga is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.