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.
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