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60's and 50's

50's and 60's

The mid 1950's were a period violence directed at police officers. On November 10, 1954 officer Joe Meredith was shot by a bandit on Rossville Blvd. In February of 1955, officer Clifford Jackson was shot during an investigation of a disorder at a tavern on Manufacturer's Road. Both officers survived their wounds.In March of 1955, H.P. Dunlap took office as the commissioner of fire and police. He appointed Ed Brown as chief of police. Commissioner Dunlap created the juvenile division within the department to deal with growing youth problems. He also established a recruit school in 1956. The school consisted of two-hour classes that were given each night for a period of nine evenings. All officers who had been hired in the previous year were required to attend.

In January of 1957, Dunlap announced a major change in the organization. Since 1919, the detective bureau had been under the command of a chief of detectives who ranked equally with the chief of police. Both positions were directly responsible to the commissioner of fire and police. Under the new organization, the detective bureau would be subordinate to the chief of police, as would the chief of detectives. This new organization was not liked at first but was gradually accepted.

Nightsticks were re-issued to the department in 1958. For more than twenty years the department had issued only blackjacks which meant that officer had to get very close to an attacker before being effectively employed. The new sticks allowed the officers some "extra reach" which was often needed to safely subdue a person resisting an arrest.

In February 1960, black officers were assigned districts for the first time and worked in patrol cars. Two new districts were created to implement this idea.

In 1961, a dog squad was created. Within a year, the K-9 unit had become fully operational and was found to be a highly useful asset to the department. The department's first police dog, Prince, displayed his ability when he "took hold" of Commissioner Dunlap during a demonstration! Dunlap appeared to be sold on the idea of a K-9 unit from that day forward.

In December of 1962, the Law Enforcement Commission of Chattanooga –Hamilton County and the University of Chattanooga announced a joint venture that created a police-training academy in the city. Classes were held at the university but were limited to in-service type training for currently employed law enforcement officers.

In April 1963, James "Bookie" Turner took office as commissioner of fire and police. The former Hamilton County Sheriff served two terms before being defeated. Turner was one of the most colorful personalities to ever hold the office of commissioner. Turner did not initially appoint a chief of police. He made Gene McGovern assistant chief of police, but later appointed him to the top job.

By 1965, the need for new facilities for the police department was clearly recognized. Plans were made and in late 1965, the department moved. Administrative functions were contained in a new information center and communications center that was housed in the basement at city hall. A new squad room with sufficient parking for patrol cars was constructed near the public works garage at 12th and Park Avenue. The jail remained at 10th and Lindsay St.

1967 witnessed the beginning of serious labor unrest among the department members. Charges of corruption and criminal complicity were leveled against some members of the command staff. The department's image suffered greatly from these allegations but none of the charges were ever substantiated.

Chattanooga Police Department
3410 Amnicola Hwy.
Chattanooga, TN 37406 (map)

Office hours are Monday through Friday 8:00 AM through 4:30 PM

Emergencies: 911

To report a crime or request assistance: (423) 698-2525

General Information:
(423) 643-5000

Crime Prevention and Community Outreach:
(423) 643-5090

Crime Stoppers Hotline:
(423) 698-3333

Drug Tip Hotline:
(423) 493-BUST (2878)

Homicide Tip Line: 
(423) 643-5100

Homeland Security




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Photo by Mike Williams