The county and city’s top two law enforcement officers have pledged to end what they say has been a traditional “turf war” between the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department and Chattanooga Police Department.
“All through my career, the chiefs and the sheriffs didn’t get along,”Sheriff Billy Long recalled. “It was kind of like a turf war. ... I think they were scared to lose something here or there. I think it was political.”
But Sheriff Long, who took office Sept. 1 after defeating 12-year incumbent John Cupp, and Police Chief Freeman Cooper, who succeeded retiring Chief Steve Parks on Jan. 1, said they are committed to working together.
“Throughout all the years, when things weren’t going well or change needed to happen, it would be, ‘They don’t want to do that’ or ‘They won’t do that,’” Chief Cooper said. “We met early on and decided we were now ‘they.’ We wanted the two agencies to work together as one.” Law enforcement officials vow to foster spirit of teamwork between departments.