EAST RIDGE, Tenn. (WDEF) — The East Ridge police chief is under fire as new allegations surface about the department’s lack of resources.
Earlier this year, some East Ridge police officers started the newest chapter of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers (IBPO) union. Now, the leaders of that chapter are voicing their concerns about how officers lack essentials like rubber gloves and fresh boots.
35 of about 42 East Ridge police officers have now unionized.
In April, East Ridge Police Sergeant Scott Butcher became the president of the department’s new chapter of the IBPO.
This came as a surprise to the East Ridge PD brass.
“We didn’t know anything about a union being formed until we saw an article on East Ridge News online that a union had been formed,” East Ridge Assistant Police Chief Stan Allen said. “We’ve never been approached by anyone from the union, never talked to them about it or anything.”
But the union has been talking. They’ve recently brought up concerns about officers lacking basic essentials, like stun gun cartridges.
East Ridge City Court clerk Patricia Cassidy also says she’s seen officers come in with duck tape on their boots.
“I mean, these guys put a badge on, that’s the way I feel,” Cassidy said. “They put a badge on to protect us, and they can’t do that unless they have the right equipment.”
But Assistant Chief Allen says no one has told management about these equipment problems.
“As the assistant chief or the chief, we don’t see every officer every single day. If they’re having a problem with the equipment, it’s up the supervisor to make us aware of it and request to purchase that,” Allen said.
Both Allen and Police Chief J.R. Reed tell News 12 that they will look into the areas of concern and address the issues.
But Cassidy, who works with officers every day, believes the popularity of the new union is telling.
“That should tell somebody something. They’re supposed to be a brotherhood, and it just breaks my heart to see how many unhappy officers we have,” Cassidy said.
According to union leaders, the IBPO is a non-strike union. It’s mission is to help police officers and work with those in charge to get officers what they need.