Chattanooga Police Announce New Virtual Ride Program
In an effort to better connect with the community, the Chattanooga Police Department announced a new program that allows citizens to virtually ride with a police officer on duty.
In an announcement Wednesday, Police Chief David Roddy said the new program will allow people to register to be virtually in the car with an officer for half an hour, or even up to an hour. The citizen can find out what’s going on in the neighborhood and get a taste of what it’s like to be in a police vehicle on a call – or just have a conversation with an officer.
Roddy added that having a virtual component in the companion program provides access that some might gain in person, whether someone is afraid of being in a police car or is physically unable to do so or be faced with other obstacles.
Roddy said the idea was presented by Officer Sydney Hamon, then a rookie officer, in 2019. Hamon said she came up with the idea during the pandemic.
“Once the protests started, no one wanted to talk to the police,” Hamon said. “So when I saw that I kept trying to find a way to engage with the community. Then I saw everyone rushing to social media to talk about what’s going on. was going on and everyone was talking to each other, but no one was talking to each other, no one was really talking or listening to each other. “
Hamon said even the idea of his department keeping an open mind to an idea from a junior officer is a step in the right direction when it comes to trying to figure out how to have a better relationship between the forces. order and the people they control.
“I think that’s the most important thing in terms of what our community needs from a police service,” she said. “So willing to listen, ready to keep an open mind to new ideas.”
Hamon said the goal of the program is to make citizens more comfortable with the police in Chattanooga. If even a little virtual tour and a video chat make some kind of connection, then the program works.
Officers who will participate in the program will do so on a voluntary basis.
For those who would like to participate, send an email to the recruiting team in the department [email protected]
Contact Patrick Filbin at [email protected] or at 423-757-6476. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickFilbin.