Robert Ratchford took the oath of office from Chancellor Roger Brown and was sworn in as the new Chief of Police at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
“Chief Robert Ratchford has served this campus with honor for 26 years. He is well known for his investigative abilities, community approach to law enforcement, and emergency planning experience—all talents that are very important to this campus,” Brown said. “Faculty, staff, students, their families, and the public expect a college campus to be a safe place to work, study, and live…as university officials, all of us are called upon to do everything possible to make our campus safe, but the day to day concern for this falls upon the shoulders of our chief of campus police. It is a very important duty, and we are lucky to such an experienced individual to lead our campus law enforcement officers.”
Chattanooga Police Chief Freeman Cooper attended the ceremony. Cooper and Ratchford attended training at the Chattanooga Police Academy at the same time.
“Who would have thought back then when we were both in the academy that over the years we would work our ways up through our respective departments to the positions of top leadership? I’m proud to be here witnessing and participating in this event. Bob is well-rounded in investigative and patrolling duties, but most importantly, he cares. He really cares about people and you have to have that today to be in public and community service.
“Crime knows no boundaries, so it is critical that all of us in law enforcement work together toward the same goal, and that is protecting the public. To a criminal, a badge is a badge. Law enforcement agencies in this community, including the UTC Police, work together better than in any community I know of in the South,” Cooper said.
Ratchford is a Ringgold, Georgia, native. He has served as the UTC Acting Chief of Police for the Department of Public Safety since February 2007 and has served at UTC for 26 years. Before he accepted his current position, Ratchford served as the Detective Lieutenant of Criminal Investigations, the Internal Affairs Investigations Officer, and as the FBI certified firearms instructor for the UTC Police Department.
Currently, Ratchford serves on the county-wide Comprehensive Emergency Strategic Planning Task Force for Education, the UTC Emergency Management Team, the Campus and Student Welfare Response Task Force, and the UTC Student Issues Team. He resides in Signal Mountain, Tennessee.
“UTC is a very special place to be. The University is more than the buildings and the grass and the sidewalks. People make up the University, and I’m very proud to be one of those people and I am especially grateful for this new opportunity in my career.
“I believe that all people should be treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve, and that’s the kind of police department I want us to have here at UTC,” Ratchford said.