Chattanooga, TN – There is a referendum on the November ballot that makes the Police Advisory and Review Committee (PARC) in Chattanooga permanent.
The committee was formed in May 2019 and is now on the ballot in an effort to prevent future City Councils from dissolving the committee.
If passed, the only way to get rid of the Police Advisory and Review Committee will be to have it go back on the ballot for voters to decide.
The unelected 9-member committee is appointed by the Chattanooga City Council, and they review police complaints that CPD Internal Affairs submits to them.
The committee can subpoena witnesses, review investigations, ask for further investigations, and ask for CPD policy changes.
News Channel 9 reports that the Police Oversight Committee reviewed 20 police complaints in the month of October.
The unelected members can only make recommendations to Police Chief Roddy, giving the impression that the entire group is just for show.
However, City Councilman Anthony Byrd wants to give the committee more power.
“So I want this board to say no, you need to go on desk duty, no, you need to be on administrative leave without pay, and that board needs to be able to do that,” said Byrd.
When asked about defunding the police, Councilman Byrd said, “We have to figure out if we are in the position to take money, and where would that money go, especially at this crucial hour. Then we have to decide who we are going to put that money in the hands of”.
It appears that members of the City Council, or at least Councilman Byrd, want to see this Police Oversight Committee gain the power to fire officers and defund the CPD.
The hunger for jurisdiction over the CPD’s budget and personnel comes as Chattanooga voters choose whether this Police Advisory and Review Committee is permanently added to the City Charter.
Voting “no” on November 3rd will allow future Chattanooga City Councils to dismantle the unelected committee that is usurping power from elected officials and the CPD.