Celeste Murphy Confirmed as Chattanooga’s First Female Police Chief

Chattanooga’s newest Police Chief, Celeste Murphy shakes hands with Mayor Kelly following her confirmation with a unanimous vote of confidence by the City Council. (Contributed photos)

The Chattanooga City Council made history on Tuesday evening when they confirmed Celeste Murphy as the city’s new police chief. Chief Murphy is the first female, and Black female chief in City of Chattanooga’s history.

The motion to approve Murphy was made by Councilwoman Marvene Noel of Orchard Knob and seconded by Councilwoman Carol Berz of Brainerd Hills.

Celeste Murphy was confirmed 8-to-0 by the City Council.

“I’m at a loss for words,” Murphy said after the unanimous approval. “This is an extremely proud moment for me. I thank the people who are here, the city and the police department who have welcomed me, I am ready to serve you all 150%.”

It is a position she isn’t taking lightly. Chief Murphy sees Chattanooga as a long-term project, and not a three or four-year term.

“I chose this profession, one, to serve. I built my career around this particular day, being a police chief, because I wanted to be able to have my own department and share my views, and those things don’t happen overnight. The issues that we’re dealing with didn’t happen overnight, but I’m a fixer. I love seeing the completion of my work. I’m here to work with the citizens for as long as it takes and as long as you’ll have me.”

During an interview with Channel 12 as well as a story televised recently on WRCB-Channel 12 about an unsolved case concerning multiple shootings last year (September 2021) on Grove Street, Chief Murphy responded.

“That particular story, in fact, has been one of the priorities that I want to look into. See how the investigation was run, see if there’s anything I can shed light on and help further the investigation – assist with the investigation. See if there’s any resources I can bring to the table that I can help assist with that, but I need to look into it and see the nuances of the story, but it’s definitely in the forefront of one of the things I want to do initially.”

“We need the community and the community needs us to react in a way they see fit. It goes back to getting into the community, letting them see me, develop that trust by showing that I care. Let’s get back to where we’re working together with the community, and the community sees us in a different light. The community has lost trust, and, for a lot of reasons, they’re right. I want to be a part of making that right again.”

According to Chief Murphy and the police communications director, one of her first orders of business will be to go into the College Hill Court Apartments and meet people face-to-face.