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1910's


1910s

In 1910, city government moved from Market House to the newly completed municipal building on East 11th street. The police department remained in the old building.

In 1911, the Board of Public Safety gave way to the Department of Fire and Police that was established under the new Commission form of government. T.C Betterton was elected as the first Commissioner of Fire and Police.By 1913, the department had become two distinct and separate organizations under the control of the Commissioner. The uniformed officers comprised one and the detectives comprised the other. Patrolmen now worked eight-hour shifts per day, every day. They were also required to work an extra four hours once a week to provide for a reserve squad which was kept on duty to be used in case of riots, serious fires, or unusual circumstances.

The detective department consisted of a captain and six detectives and was considered to be a very important branch of the department.Commissioner Betterton was re-elected in 1915 and immediately instituted a departmental "housecleaning". Chief hill was removed from office and was replaced by William Hackett. Hackett announced that it was to be his purpose to "police" his men, to be one of them, and that he would ask nothing of them that he would not willingly do himself. Hackett was to become known as a fair, impartial, but strict disciplinarian. Robert Bass took over the position of Chief of Detectives.

Police salaries were regulated by the state legislature because salaries were a part of the charter under which the city government operated. In 1917 an amendment in the form of a police pay bill was introduced which would increase salaries for all policemen under the rank of assistant chief. Captains were to receive $1500 per year, Lieutenants would get $1320, and Patrolmen would get $1200 if they had three years experience. The bill met with much resistance.

By 1919, the department's mounted division was converted to motorcycles. The men grudgingly accepted the new innovation and eventually a new mystique grew up around the motor officers. Stories of chases and escapes from death became part of the department's heritage.

Veteran officer W.L. Baker became the new chief of police in 1919 and Chief Hackett was moved to the position of chief of detectives, a position that he would hold for the next twenty years.

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

Office hours are Monday through Friday 8:00 AM through 5:00 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)

 

Photo by Mike Williams