(Above) David Roddy, Chattanooga Police Chief (Photo by Matt Reiter)
Protecting the Lives of Locals and Their Interests
Chattanooga area residents look to the City of Chattanooga, Hamilton County, and various local townships to provide quality government services.
Hamilton County, which celebrated its 200th birthday in 2019, is comprised of 10 municipalities – Chattanooga, Red Bank, East Ridge, Lookout Mountain, Soddy-Daisy, Collegedale, Signal Mountain, Lakesite, Ridgeside,
and Walden. The County Commission is led by a chairman and includes one elected official from each of the county’s nine geographic districts. The county mayor is elected at-large and is not a member of the County Commission. These officials work to oversee legislation and policy for the county.
Similarly, the City of Chattanooga is governed by an elected mayor and nine elected council members. The objective of this government body is to encourage input and participation from Chattanoogans, as well as administrate all city government programs and services.
The Chattanooga Public Library boasts four locations, where visitors can do everything from rent books and DVDs to check out power tools. The library also provides computer access, Wi-Fi, notary and fax services, meeting rooms, and printing capabilities, among other services. The downtown location features a 12,000-square-foot space dedicated to design and technology. With 3D printers, a sewing lab, photography studio, event space, screen printing equipment, and more, this space is a great place for residents to explore and hone their skills and hobbies.
Yet another service relied upon by residents is the Chattanooga Department of Public Works, which oversees the city’s infrastructure, design, construction, and maintenance. From snow and ice removal to brush and garbage collection, the Department of Public Works aims to make the city more livable and green. To supplement city and county offerings, township governments also provide services to their residents to make sure all their needs are met.
Working in tandem with the Public Works department is the Chattanooga Department of Transportation, which serves as the city’s liaison for CARTA (Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority), the Transportation Planning Organization, and the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport. The department is constantly working to implement and repair projects to improve the area’s transportation system.
Keeping residents safe are the Chattanooga Fire Department, the Chattanooga and Hamilton County police departments, and local townships’ fire and police organizations. The Chattanooga Fire Department protects a growing 144 square miles in Hamilton County and responds to over 19,000 emergencies a year, while the Chattanooga Police Department serves residents through neighborhood policing, community outreach, investigations, and more. The force’s 500 sworn officers are responsible for the same 144-square-mile area that the fire department operates in. In 2018, the department responded to more than 230,000 calls for assistance.
The City of Chattanooga also does its part to get residents outside by maintaining a network of 41 playgrounds, 53 tennis courts, 35 miles of greenways and trails, three dog parks, and six youth athletic association facilities, among other sites. Complementing the city’s offerings, Hamilton County maintains the popular Chester Frost Park, Enterprise South Nature Park, and Tennessee Riverpark, as well as an assortment of community parks.
Neighboring Bradley County includes the cities of Cleveland and Charleston. Cleveland is governed by a mayor, city council, and city manager, while Charleston operates under a commission form of government with a mayor and two commissioners.
Did You Know?
The Chattanooga Police Department elected its first chief in 1883. A commission met and decided that the force would consist of a chief, assistant chief, and 10 patrolmen. The chief received a monthly salary of $75, while patrolmen were paid $60.