Sunday, August 8, 2010

2010 Sevier Sheriff Elections Concession Remarks

With regret we have had to See Seals go back into the office of Sevier County Sheriff. According to the election commission Seals got a Whopping 9,000 vote count and I received around 2500 and Pierce received about 1000 votes. After visiting several thousand people in the County it is hard to believe he was able to get this many votes and especially with all the adverse publicity concerning hiring a convicted felon in the jail, with murders, thefts and drugs off the scale, and he was still able to get a 25% approval rating in Sevier County.

There is a lot of speculation nationally concerning the use of the electronic voting machines that are used in Sevier County and experts agree the machines can be manipulated and tampered with. In my opinion this is what had occurred in Sevier County, but I am unable to contest it and it will just have to pass. However, if I am going to concede to defeat, I am going to maximize the defeat. Seals won this election by 49,000 votes instead of 9,000 because 40,000 voters didn't show up to vote, so they approved of his election also.
Many of these 49,000  voters have to be victims of a crime due to high numbers of criminal activity in Sevier County. I guess folks just like to be victimized and it adds to the Sheriff's popularity.

To me this is probably a blessing not to win this election and I knew going into it I probably couldn't  win. I appreciate all the voters that supported me and Kim Pierce who have tried to make a difference in Sevier County. Probably the most depressing part of the defeat was being present in the courtroom during the election count where I had to witness an entourage of Seals deputies that were the most disgusting  bunch of overweight, obese, misfits I have ever witnessed in any police agency across the country. I have come to recognize the Sevier County Sheriff Department is not about professional law enforcement and service, but is still a backwoods, ineffective department that operates solely for the purpose of granting special favors to the local good ole boy establishment that in fact controls the voting in Sevier County.  This is not going to stop for a long time. I did my part and if the election is not rigged, then the majority of people that voted have elected  Seals for whatever reason. In my opinion, we can't stand another 4 years of this mess. Call me sour grape loser but it is what it is.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Changes in the Sheriff Department

Bass Pro On Douglas Lake

Many people have asked me how I am going to make the sheriff department better when I am elected sheriff. I have described in this blog and with the Mountain Press questionnaire many ways that can change the sheriff department. Without being in the drivers seat, it is difficult to speculate as to what can be done within the department. The driving force for any change will be money. I see many things that can be changed and it will probably not take any more money and there should be a considerable savings with a reorganization. Like I have said , the department needs to be professionalized, and modernized. The incumbent has stated his organization does not need any change. With the response I am getting from a large  number of citizens, there has to be some change for this department to be functional and effective.

He boast a 9 million dollar budget. I am certain this includes a lot of federal grant money. The federal grant money can be very helpful, but usually it come with strings attached. That means the federal government tells you how you are going to run your department. If the grant money was plentiful to use, then there should be more than 6 deputies patrolling Sevier County on a week-end night. Crime is overwhelming in Sevier County and only 6 deputies to control it. Not only are the citizens not getting the protection and service they require, it is also very unsafe for the deputies.

As I drive around the county, I see a large number of patrol cars in the day time, and usually a large number of vehicles around the Sheriff department downtown. Maybe they have to conduct business for some reason, but it seems there are concentrated in areas that aren't needed. The cities are very capable of taking care of the cities. My goal will be to get all the "gun toter's" on the road where the criminals are. Gun toter's are expensive to maintain unlike other qualified people that can do the job without a weapon, training and equipment. Gun toter's don't need to be in administrative positions. I have been informed Sevier County has two animal control officers. These officers are getting paid to do what the animal shelter is capable of doing and the gun toter's can get out and catch criminals and not dogs. The money and equipment to maintain these positions may be grant money. If it is then it needs to go to the animal shelter and the gun toter's placed in law enforcement positions that is greatly needed.

Litter pick-up crews are driven around the county by gun toter's that can also be used to catch criminals. We have already caught the ones that are picking up trash and they are no threat. Yet I see these trash pick-up vehicles parked around the county on the sides of the road with officers that are getting paid a significant salary to read the paper, talk on the telephone and smoke cigarettes. Lots of times they are just driving around with no personnel with them. Sevierville Police department has the same type of operation. The lady that does this always appears to be busy, helping with the chores and she is not a gun toter and she is very efficient. These people that are doing the community service work aren't dangerous and are on probation. If they don't won't to work then they can be reported to probation and then be revoked to spend a little time in the county bed and breakfast. These positions without a doubt can be supervised without gun toter's qualifications  and these officers can be on the street catching more criminals.

I have a great problem with deputies transporting their kids to school in a marked patrol car. This is something that I just cannot comprehend. There is no way a deputy can respond to an emergency or stop a crime in progress with junior sitting in the patrol car. I support deputies taking home cars for the sole purpose of being able to assist in an emergency or respond for back-up or a crime in progress. This practice will stop immediately. I am aware there may be some school resource officers responsible for this, but I have also gotten reports of a deputy bringing their kid to the movie theater in a patrol car. Again, this may be federal grant money that pays for the SRO's, but no patrol cars are going to used solely for transportation. This is a waste of vehicles, fuel and maintenance. If the federal government is going to tell me I have to supply them a vehicle, then they will drive Smart cars to the school. This has got to be one of the most ridiculous practices I have ever heard of.

I have information the reserve deputy force in the Sevier County includes over 80 officers. I don't know if this is complete reserve program or maybe some special deputy appointments. If they are in fact Reserve officers, they come with maintenance. I am aware of some of the deputies are Reserve deputies, but based on my observations I don't think they can qualify physically, and have POST certifications and required in service training.  After Paul Litner, a convicted felon, was hired and endorsed by the current Sheriff,  I guess anyone can get certified regardless of police standards. A solid Reserve Force is very useful, but the Force I am aware of is useless. This program will be temporarily  suspended. Reserve applicants will then be accepted, screened, and bonded to implement an active Reserve force to supplement, the regular deputy programs.

Satellite or Sheriff Substations have to implemented for the the efficiency of the department. The is especially important for the Seymour area where we have a large number of residents. Other parts of the country have effectively established creative financing programs to assist in getting these stations located for little or no money. This gives the deputies a space for temporary holding of suspects or victims for investigations, interviews, report writing and a variety of other needs.. Many fire departments have made space available. Sevier County is spread over a large area, and the officers need an assigned area where they can assemble or take a break. This should eliminate the number of vehicles around the cities and allow the deputies to stay in their area. This also gives a place for citizens to report to for complaints and assistance.

A Crime Stopper program will be implemented. These programs are very effective and administered throughout the country. Most Wanted is a Crime Stopper program and is very effective. By paying the thugs anonymously for information, they will identify where and who we need to go after. It will be more cost effective than paying a deputy to drive around and try to find them. There is no honor among the thugs and they will want free money if it is available. This is also an avenue for honest citizens who want to report criminal activity but are afraid of reprisals and want to remain anonymous.

According to the Tennessee Sheriff handbook, Court security is a large responsibility of the Sheriff and will be addressed immediately. Anyone that visits the court house during the day and drives around the parking area between the jail and the courthouse has had to stop for prisoners, shackled together, and shuffling across the roadways to court. No one has stopped to think of the potential devastation that can occur by walking these prisoners around in the roadway, crossing the street and having to wait for traffic to pass. What would happen if one of these inmates has an enemy, or spouse that is looking for the opportunity to attack or kill someone such as a victim of child molestation, or a victim of domestic violence or any related matters. If I were looking for the opportunity to get even, I would just take my 4,000 pound missile in the shape of a car and just run the whole bunch over. Not only that, I have seen tourist walking around taking pictures of the courthouse while prisoners are being paraded across the street. A picture of Dolly with inmates in the background probably makes for a good conversation to our visitors. Very unprofessional and very liable. Entrances at all corners of the courthouse, chaos and confusion in the courthouse and a parking garage under the building that can be blown up just as the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. I am sure there is no plan in effect, no security of the judges and anyone can enter the Sevier County Courthouse undetected and cause a catastrophic event.

Drug enforcement and arrest will be made immediately. This ain't the wild west and there will be no more round-ups and newspaper photo opportunities. If you sell drugs, you will be arrested then and there based upon probable cause. Evidence of the crime will be seized pending a trial and forfeiture seizure hearing that includes evidence and property associated and used in the drug dealing. Most of these people are low level users and pill poppers. If a major drug activity is discovered, then appropriate agency assistance will be requested. The local low level dealers that are being investigated and given 6 months to distribute drugs while making their bail money will be ceased.

Criminal investigations will be conducted by competent criminal investigators. Street officers will conduct preliminary investigations obtaining as much evidence as possible at the crime scene including, physical evidence, victim, suspect and witness interviews with written statements. Trained competent supervisors will also respond to insure this is getting done. In capital crime cases including unwitnessed deaths, serious accidents, or suspicious circumstances  I will personally be on scene to insure the investigation is conducted completely. If I cannot be there another high level supervisor will respond, This will be any hour, anywhere in any weather. The assistance of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will be summoned immediately if there is a major crime scene to obtain expert crime scene and forensic personnel.

A big concern of the local residents of Sevier County is the illegal immigrant problem and many people want to know what I will do about it. I can only give a political answer to this and I am bound by an old southern tradition by having my fingers crossed so I am not telling a lie. This problem is overwhelming to the entire country and is not exclusive to Sevier county. I cannot guarantee any relief unless there is a law provided to arrest illegal aliens. To my knowledge the law has not been granted. However, if they violate the existing laws, they will be arrested and treated as any other violator. Once they are arrested, for violating the law, then they should be accepted by ICE (Immigration Enforcement) for deportation. I can say with fact that this will be a difficult task, but it will be a high priority for the department to reduce the illegal population that compromises the needed jobs and benefits of our citizens.

Sevier County jail operations will be significantly changed also. My plan is to bull doze it to the ground and just start over. There is not enough time to write about this debacle.

All personnel hired at the Sheriff department will be conducted by competitive hiring practices period. This includes promotional opportunities. There will be performance standards that each person is evaluated by and will identify what each person is responsible for. I am going to push for a Human Resource officer to implement these hiring standards as well as implementing a civil service and merit incentive program. This cannot be done overnight and I am sure it will catch a lot of opposition because it will completely do away with the "good ole boy" system that is now in place.

There are a multitude of changes that can be implemented to make the Sheriff department better. Police agencies from across the country have identified and instituted a number of significant advances in law enforcement that are there just for the asking.  A large budget driven by the lure of Federal Grant money may seem good, but if the department cannot use the money to place officers where they are needed, it mitigates the need for the Federal Grant money. This only adds to financial and logistics problems trying to administer the programs while the county is not getting the real police protection that is needed. Most of us can relate just how efficient the Federal Government is anyhow and especially now. Do we really need Obama involved in our police protection?

Talking about all this is still mitigated by actually getting elected as Sheriff and getting possession of the Checkbook. Money is the driving factor coupled with a powerful  initiative by the Sheriff to make the department more efficient, modern and professional. It will be my position to maintain an open dialogue with the staff and the citizens to explore new and better techniques to make the department better. I will be a working sheriff, in uniform, and not be burdened by politics. The Sevier County Sheriff Department will be administered using national personnel practices, including an established EEO policy. The U.S. Constitution and the Tennessee Statutes will be enforced judicially.  There are a multitude of changes and commitments that have to be made, but if the current administration is not changed this is all wasted dialogue. If the citizens chose to remain as is, I will just go away. I stepped up and challenged the incumbent because there was no opposition to the current regime. In my opinion and observation, my money is being wasted to support a department that is marginally functional, antiquated and without focus or direction. I feel I have did my part by participating in the election process and the voters will decide. The majority (51%) rules.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Campaign Signs Stolen!!!

I have placed about 250 campaign signs throughout Sevier County trying to get myself recognized and       compete in the election process and give people a choice in the voting process. As with everything else that goes on in this county I have found there are many people in the county that do not like the process to make
change and there least 100  of my campaign signs stolen. I have placed these signs next to the incumbent signs as well as a well known and entrenched incumbent constable and their signs are left and mine have been taken.

To make matters worse, one of my signs was in a friends yard and he observed a Sevier County patrol car with the headlights off around midnight and a deputy in his yard with my sign in his hands. When he was caught, he dropped the sign and jumped in his patrol car and drove away with the headlights off. It's pretty clear to me who the deputy was and has been identified as the same deputy who spotlighted a deer on TVA property and was caught by TWRA that led to the deputy being fired by Sheriff Bruce Montgomery. Mr. Montgomery was very a very fair person but would not tolerate this kind of activity even if it was a political supporter. Seals however has hired this guy back knowing he was a criminal, but did so because of his good ole boy way of doing business. He did his buddy a favor and hired this guy, that has put an officer on the street with a very compromised reputation just as he allowed Paul Litner to be hired knowing he was convicted felon. Seals has went further to comment in the Mountain Press he is not going to change anything about his department.  That means to me he is going to continue hiring who he wants with whatever background just becasue he is doing someone a favor.

Another deputy was also seen in the Richardson Cove area when a sign there disappeared but at this time I am unable to confirm the deputies identity.  I have made an offense report with the Sheriff department for the good it will do, but there have been other ways instituted to identify the people stealing these signs and they will be prosecuted!!! These criminals and any like them should pray I am not elected to the Sheriff position. One should remember the ass you kick today may  belong to the person whose ass you will kiss tommorrow. How is law enforcement going to be effective, when the cops are as dirty as the criminals. This needs to stop now, but I am sure the department will readily defend these thugs that are stealing the campaign signs. I have also seen some of the incumbent signs with large O' s with a slash across them where somone has vandalized the signs. This needs to stop. In order for everyone to have a fair vote they need to leave the proces alone. If these are the type of people that are supporting me, I don't want their vote, nor do I need to interfere with trying to stop some of this sneaky and illegal activity in this county that the Chief of Law Enforcement is responsbile for.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Election Day Nears

Elect Jerry Grubb, Sevier County Sheriff, 2010

As the general election nears, I have had the opportunity to canvas Sevier County, talking with a wide range of citizens about the issues concerning the Sheriff Department. A vast majority of people ask me what I am going to do to make the Sheriff Department better.  Most of the citizens are very concerned about the way the department is being run and have noted the significant increase of drugs, theft, murders and other serious crimes that have plagued Sevier County in the past couple of years. As I have eluded to in this blog, it is clear to me the Sheriff Department's operation is antiquated, unprofessional and lacks the training and drive to deal with serious situations on a daily basis. Most of the staff of officers have been hired only because they are related to someone, friends or political supporters and lack supervision and leadership required to establish a professional and modern sheriff department. To state it quite simply, The Good Ole Boy Way of Doing Business". I have asked deputies about their responsibilities for response to complaints and emergencies. Some of them are very apprehensive to reply, but I have found there are usually only 6-10 deputies to cover the entire county during the night from Seymour, Jones Cove and Wears Valley. While I can not verify any schedules, I am aware there is a limited response when deputies are called for assistance. I have observed on many occasions, a large number of Sheriff patrol cars at the Sheriff department in the middle of the day and in the downtown areas of Sevierville and Pigeon Forge almost daily. I think Sevierville and Pigeon Forge police departments are capable of handling the cities without constant sheriff patrols in the city limits. The rural areas of the county are the problem. Put this many cruisers in the county and somone may accidentally stumble upon a theft or a meth lab.

Based on my observations and interactions, the Sheriff Department needs a significant overhaul for modernization to enhance professionalism. This is in comparison with having an old pickup truck that keeps having to be repaired, constantly replacing the parts just to  keep it running. Eventually there comes a time when the truck just has to be replaced with a newer and modern vehicle with more technology for better efficiency.

In order to achieve these goals, there has to be competitive hiring, reviewing officer resumes and conducting personal interviews to select the best candidate possible and not hired just because of his personal or political agenda. After the candidate is selected, there has to be performance standards to work by, followed with an evaluation process to insure the officers maintain a standard of professionalism. Background checks and random drug testing will be required. The jail house opportunist, Paul Litner is a prime example of what may be lurking within the Sheriff's Department. This criminal was verified and known by the Sheriff as an inmate and felon with an extensive criminal background and going as far to accept a campaign contribution from a criminal.  Maybe the current Sheriff should have to pay the 50 million dollar lawsuit instead of the county taxpayers for this egregious and blatant violation of citizen trust.

The Pill Poppers and Meth Heads are out of control in this county. This has lead to an increase in violence against our citizens including murder and an estimated 30% increase in thefts across the county. An aggressive drug enforcement and anti-theft program has to implemented immediately. Citizens are not aware of the magnitude this problem is creating. The drug war has begun in Sevier County that ultimately  leads to gangs and drug lords. While it may not be on a scale like Mexico of California, it is still here, with an opportunity to escalate due to the current demand that will escalate supply.  This is an horrific underlying problem plaguing Sevier County that has resulted in murder, domestic violence and thefts. While alcohol abuse is prevalent in the county, it has been voted in by the citizens to enhance the revenue for the school system, but is manageable. I have always heard comments and jokes about our neighboring counties concerning their reputation for chop shops, drugs and corruption. Well Sevier County, the joke is now on you.

There are many tools available  to assist in the identification and investigation and apprehension of these criminals. The creation of a Crime Stopper Program providing confidential reporting and a reward program will identify a large number of criminals. Knowing how bad the Pill Poppers want to make a hundred dollars, a confidential and anonymous reward program will make the phone ring off the hook. This is going to be a much cheaper way to find the dopers than sending an investigation or patrol unit out trying to find them. This is not a novel idea and is used by numerous agencies across the country. The implementation of a Portable Video Surveillance System, that is mobile and can be used in high crime areas will also enhance investigative efforts to identify criminal activities that occur. The units are practical and cost effective with technology that can photograph and record activity needed to establish probable cause for an arrest or further investigation.
When all else fails, a simple departmental policy, to establish vehicle check points in random locations and times is very effective and can be conducted with the assistance of the Reserve Deputy program.

The incumbent has stated our jail is over crowded and there is no where to put offenders including the illegal immigrants. This has always been a problem and will continue to be a problem, but there are ways of dealing with them as Sheriff Joe has done. Regardless, the criminal's have to be contained and not allowed to roam at will throughout the county. Our citizens have 2nd amendment rights and should exercise those rights to protect themselves and their property when they are"in fear of their safety".  The burden of proof will be the responsiblity of the criminal's.

What makes me the best candidate for Sheriff? 

The incumbent sheriff hails 35 years of experience with the Sevier County Sheriff department. I fail to see the application of 35 years experience. He has lived in Sevier County his entire career and has only been employed by one Sheriff Department doing the same ole, same ole on a daily basis for 35 years.  I have had over 30 years of experience working across the country with numerous police departments and the federal law enforcement agencies. From the outside looking in I am able to better identify the need for a more aggressive and pro-active department and provide for a more community service program and like I have said, remove "The Good Ole  Boy" way of doing business. What has anyone got to lose. It seems pretty clear, the incumbent only needs to be re-elected for four more years to enhance his financial status and doesn't have to perform at all after being re-elected and he retires. In my opinion, he has not performed in the past two years as an elected Sheriff with the exception of maintaining a convicted felon who solicited sex within the department and stole a boatload of yours and my money.

As election day nears, everyone needs to re-examine the law enforcement needs of Sevier County. This also applies to the other candidates that have worked in the same job for 35 years that includes the mayor. Again what have you got to lose. The economy is stifled and there has been no growth. I don't know what the other candidates can offer, but incumbents have to go. I don't think we can "like what we have had" for four more years. Apathetics, whiners and complainers do not apply. The voters rule.

Comments are welcomed at

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sevier County Jail

As the election nears, I have had the opportunity to meet and greet thousands of people in Sevier County that will be voting in the August 5th election. Most of the citizens I have talked with are adamant in changing the way the Sevier County Sheriff department is operating. Some are apathetic and a few could care less about any elections. The majority of the citizens I have talked with want a new administration. However, the majority of the voters are the same voters that vote in each election and elect the same administration. The majority of the citizens are not the majority of voters. There are 52,000 registered voters in Sevier County and only 20 percent turn out. I will do my part in this process to make changes and overhaul the Sheriff department if I am elected. The voters will determine if the same ole, same ole continues and the voters are the ones that will rule and that is what everyone will live with.

I have listened to many complaints and concerns of the Sevier County Jail operations. I haven't visited the jail since I retired 7 years ago. At the time I was working and interacting with the jail personnel and operations, I recall the jail to be operating very effectively, with a professional staff and leadership. There have been some apparent changes with most of the complaints centered with the treatment of inmates and the sanitary conditions at the jail.

I have very little compassion for the inmates of the jail. If one does not like the county bed and breakfast, then don't commit the crimes. In a perfect world, there would be no need for incarceration, but as long as there are humans, there will be jail. Inmates are in jail for rehabilitation purposes. Many are there awaiting court hearings and sentencing to determine guilt. Some are there because they like liquor and some are there because they like jail. Regardless, the jail needs to be operated professionally, with a sanitary facility, without compassion and fellowship of the corrections officers to insure people that utilize the jail don't like the facilities and don't want to return.

Most people of Sevier County are very much aware of the "Paul LitnerGate" scandal. For what ever reason, this jailhouse opportunist has made a mockery of the criminal justice system and the Sevier County Sheriff  Department.  He has been supported by the current administration. Litner, a convicted felon, served time in prison and was released.  He came to Sevier County, committed fraud, and again was convicted.  He served time as an inmate in the Sevier County jail. He was released only to be hired by the administration, knowing he was a felon, and given a high level position as a corrections officer in the same jail he had served his time as a felon. The only time I recall a jail house inmate being appointed a police officer was Otis Campbell who did time in the Mayberry jail. Barney then appointed Otis a police officer. The only difference with Otis, he did not have fellow inmates with him to solicit and coerce sex, costing Mayberry $50 million dollars in a law suit like Litner has cost Sevier County.  I have talked with many concerned persons that are disgusted with this.

I agree, this ain't Mayberry and this is no TV movie. I have heard reports Litner was buying anything and everything with county funds, including a tractor trailer load of toilet paper that never made it to the jail. I am sure there are receipts for these transactions that could be produced for an audit, but the audit is only as good as the official reviewing the expense. Are these accusations true? Some must be because Litner is now serving time again for committing a crime while employed as a corrections officer with the Sevier County Sheriff Department with the knowledge and sponsorship of the Sevier County Sheriff. A 50 million dollar law suit to be paid by the Sevier County taxpayers is pending and will have to be paid because  Litner plead guilty to the crime. As a citizen, I am outraged this activity occurred.  The money spent to maintain a sleazy, low life character endorsed by the Sheriff is beyond disgusting. Taxpayer money that could have been spent on schools and other domestic projects has been spent, with the permission of the Sevier County Sheriff Department, on silly and naughty sexcapades.
Another complaint I have been informed of, by many, is the installation and operation of an ATM  machine placed in the Sevier County jail for inmates. I do not know what the justifications are for this type of  activity, but in my opinion, it has all the makings for another LitnerGate debacle.
Inmates being able to access funds can only lead to more corruption and no accountablility.  I am sure there are arguments that this is adding to the efficiency of the Sevier County jail, but when comparing each inmate's ability to acquire funds, it identifies the inmate with the most money controls the jail house staff and other inmates.  This is apparently in place for commissary purchases and there seems to be no limit to how much money can be placed in the ATM, as well as a very heavy fee levied on each transaction. Who is in charge of the banking of this ATM and who accounts for the money and transactions?  Inmates should be supplied with the necessities to sustain them in the jail until their release, with very minimal supplements, based on their performance and conduct. 
This is not a college campus or military boot camp.  The inmates are not guaranteed anything but strict rehabilitation to keep them from returning to the Sevier County Jail. The reality of jail is JAIL!  If you don't like the faciltities, then don't return!  All inmates should be treated alike with none of them being able to access any money without proper accountability and exigent circumstances only. I am wondering where this idea came from?
Maybe I am missing something and not very well informed but I have been told it is very effective at the animal shelters also.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Investigations and Response to Citizens

In the past couple of years since this administration has come into existence, there have been several deaths as a result of murders and suspicious circumstance, home invasions, thefts and a mirage of other crimes. I have talked with a number of school students and find our schools are infected with drugs. There have been few arrest and sub-standard response by the current administration of the Sheriff. There are murderers loose in Sevier County at this time and comments are being made if you want to get away with murder, go to Sevier County. Officer response to calls have been slow and unresponsive, with no investigation or assistance rendered to the individuals making the call. I have talked with many residents that are very apprehensive of Sevier County Sheriff deputies and find some of the officers very intimidating and disrespectful.

With the recent murder of my friend Shannon Hercutt, I have had the opportunity to witness first hand the investigative process that has taken place. Because of gross negligence and malfeasance by the investigators, a murderer is loose in Sevier County. The Sheriff is blaming the highway patrol and the highway patrol apparently answers to no one. The investigation has been so compromised it may be impossible to prosecute anyone even if there is an arrest. I do not know the highway patrol's protocol for investigating an accident with a death. I can relate to the fact the Sheriff is the high official in the county and has a responsibility to investigate all suspicious and unwitnessed deaths that occur in the county. I agree the Highway patrol should investigate motor vehicle accidents. However, throughout the country, there is an epidemic of staged or fabricated accidents, not only with motor vehicle accidents, but drownings, fires, drugs and many other scenarios. Any trained or experienced officer should know this and investigate all incidents fully. The Sheriff should be on scene personally and have a qualified officer on scene to help determine the cause of any suspicious or unwitnessed deaths. In Shannon's case, there was no Sheriff representative on the scene except a rookie officer that directed traffic. No Sheriff or Supervisor was on scene. No law enforcement officer went to the vehicle and looked in it and viewed Shannon's body to determine if this was in fact a motor vehicle accident.  Medics at the scene determined this was a homicide but it was still ruled a "traffic accident" although this was a homicide.

This was a crime scene and not a vehicle crash, and should have been left in tact until an investigation was complete. Qualified investigators should have been called immediately, but instead her body was left in the vehicle as it was pulled 125 feet up a ravine and once it was back on the road it was ruled a vehicle accident. Her body was sent directly to a funeral home where her body was bathed and funeral home officials were seeking permission from the family to embalm her and bury her without any investigation. Because of her father's repeated attempts to get an autopsy performed rather than give permission for burial, it was learned she had been severely beaten to death. Three to four days passed before any criminal investigation was begun and now, at least 10 months later, there is still a murderer loose in Sevier County. There are many other murders that have gone cold with no arrest and have gone by the wayside probably like Shannon's with no investigation and little hope of identifying the murderer.

I am well qualified to question the investigation. I have investigated hundreds of serious vehicle accidents with many resulting in fatalities. I have had to go to vehicles that were down ravines, in the river and on fire, resulting in fatalities. I have had to go into the river and down embankments to determine whether the crash scene was, in fact, a vehicle crash and not related to a serious crime including murder and intoxication. Because of vehicle crash investigations I have identified and prosecuted many crimes of murder and intoxication in Federal District Court.

My position on unwitnessed deaths in Sevier County is clear. As Sheriff, if there is an unwitnessed death or serious criminal incident that has occurred, I will personally be on scene to make sure proper investigation occurs. If I am unavailable, there will be a competent supervisor and detective on scene and they will not be directing traffic. Appropriate Cooperative Agreements will be made with each city in Sevier County, all surrounding counties and agencies, respective of their protocols and procedures, to outline and establish back-up procedures and assistance for officer safety and quick response for citizen protection anytime.
There will be a Pro-Active and aggressive response to control and monitor the criminal elements that now plagues Sevier County. At best, there is minimal Re-Active response. When an officer arrives to a call now, a report number is given, no investigation is conducted and the call is ended, with only a statistic to report. Deputies should be knowledgeable of investigative techniques, conduct field interviews and gather information and evidence of all complaints and attempt to mediate all complaints that makes each complainant feel they got their money's worth when the officer leaves. I concede the Sheriff's office cannot solve all the murders and crimes that are occurring, but professional investigation will be conducted regardless. I have personally been a victim of this administration's response.

The attached Sheriff department report identifies a serious call for assistance and the officer's written report. Forty minutes lapsed before an officer responded to a criminal assault with a gun. The report speaks for itself. The sentence structure, spelling and content to describe this event is irrational and illiterate. This is the information the prosecution is going to use to put people in jail. This is a report that has been written by a sheriff deputy identifying the complaint and is on file in the Sheriff's office. These reports could have been better written by a 2nd grader. The definition of a "Narrative" is, "an orderly, continuous account of an event or a series of events." The following report is real and only the names have been blacked out to protect the innocent. This illiteracy will not be tolerated when I am elected to the job of Sheriff!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Organization, Visibility and Transparency

There were several factors that influenced my decision to seek the job of Sheriff. The main factor was no opposition against the current Sheriff . I solicited many qualified persons to run for the office, but everyone declined citing no one would be able to beat the incumbent and the election was rigged and there were too many issues including the jail issues to have to deal with. Also, most of these people, like myself were retired and just didn't want to be bothered with this monumental task. Given the last minutes of the last day for qualifying I decided to seek the job of Sheriff.

Over the past several years I have identified many serious incidents involving gross negligence, malfeasance and misfeasance and unlawful criminal conduct with the current administration. I have worked very closely with law enforcement agencies across the country and it is beyond belief the disregard for lawful conduct, and professionalism this administration has displayed. There have been many incidents of waste and abuse of taxpayer money. A convicted felon, knowingly  hired and given a supervisory position in a supposedly  secure jail facility. Several murders, including a suspicious suicide involving the police agencies that has involved collusion and intrigue and in my opinion, absolute cover-up for  botched police action. Rapes of inmates, jail suicides by hanging, complaints of disease and unsanitary conditions at the jail, constant investigations regarding conduct by the Sheriff and his staff are just too numerous for the efficiency of any agency and especially the Sheriff administration.

I am somewhat familiar with the current administration's structure. While I do not have an idea of what the operating budget of the Sheriff's office is, the budget looks relatively fat. There is definitely reorganization and change needed in the department for maximum efficiency and control of the department. I have heard many times that the incumbent has been running the Sheriff department for 30 years working for 3 different sheriffs as a chief deputy. While one can applaud him for his efforts, it is also noted that new ideas and tactics are achieved with new leaders. Efficiency and growth is stifled with the same ole, same ole. New leadership means new growth and different attitudes. In the  incumbent's mind, I am sure he thinks he is doing a great job. I compare this with asking a mother if her baby is ugly.
When I am elected sheriff, a complete audit of the Sheriff Department expenditures will be conducted and all monies spent will be scrutinized and posted for the public to see. While audits are apparently conducted regularly, it only accounts for money spent but no one beyond the managment knows just what was bought with taxpayer money. Figures show an accurate expenditure, but what is the expenditure. A felon convicted of embezzlement of hundreds of thousands of dollars and given purchase authority and hired in the capacity of a law enforcement supervisor raises red flags all around as to just how much taxpayer money was wasted or stolen. This act is beyond any intelligent person's comprehension and is gross negligence, if not criminal negligence. In order to qualify for a law enforcement position, one has to be certified by the Tennessee Police Standards Commission.  That requires fingerprints and a criminal history background check before one can even enroll in the training course. It also requires a psychological evaluation. Taxpayer money was also spent to place this felon in the certification course. How many other employees are in positions of trust that have compromised backgrounds no one knows about?

There appears to be no standard for competitive hiring within the current administration. Job performance, evaluation, and  merit protection is minimal or non existent. It appears employees of the Sheriff department are hired only by a standard of family, relative or friends of someone who is a political supporter and not through a competitive process.  The only way to evaluate one's performance for incentives, awards or promotions is by establishing performance standards and position descriptions to identify one's job responsibilities. Personnel responsibilities begin with a Human Resource Director or Officer. The cities within Sevier County all identify Human Resource offices on their respective websites. Sevier County only identifies the mayor and gives no information as to any employment in Sevier County jobs.

As Sheriff I will attempt to establish a Human Resource Department and review all positions, training and performance accomplishments and qualifications. Fair and competitive hiring practices will be established and a merit system within the Sheriff  Department with a formal EEO (Equal Employment Opportunity) program established for the protection of all employees for job security. Human Resource Directors should be instituted at the Executive level of Sevier County and cover all departments within the Sevier County Government. With the current executive administration, I think we all know what they think of this.

Performance Standards sound serious and regimented and may seem restrictive as well as demanding.  This is especially recognized by the "Good Ole Boys" who do what they like and want to do. I have worked with many officers in this county and there are some very good officers that go beyond the call in these remote areas of  the Great Smoky Mountains. Then there are others that are very apprehensive in making any decisions or responses because they are not sure what they are to do. With these standards, there will be a clear outline of responsibilities and procedures to do their job without interference focusing on Officer Safety and Performance. Performance Standards are guidelines for modern day jobs whether it is a police officer or a secretary and will not be anything like the good ole boy programs that are now in existence.

I have never been a Sheriff but I have worked with numerous law enforcement and emergency service agencies across the country for over 30 years.  There are better, different and efficient ways to do business without politics. I am no politician, I have no political agenda, I have no relatives living anywhere near here and I owe no one any special favors and I will not participate in any political agenda. I see this job as a business to be conducted as such.

All Sheriff department expenditures will be available at all times for anyone's inspection and comments and complaints will be addressed promptly. Complete transparency and visibility within the Sheriff department will be of utmost concern. Based on my observations, but lacking the facts and numbers concerning the Sheriff Department budget, I think redefining the sheriff department's mission with some reorganization, there could be extra money available for deputy pay raises or incentives. Deputy pay will be one of my main concerns and I will strive to make sure every officer can be paid the most fiscally possible. There will also be an open door to the Sheriff to address complaints and comments. As Sheriff, absolute professionalism and efficiency with our taxpaying money is the ultimate goal.