Tennessee Highway Patrol Sergeant James Sells has resigned in lieu of termination following an internal investigation by the agency’s Inspectional Services Bureau. The investigation stemmed from allegations that Sgt. Sells had violated Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security policies and procedures by engaging in sexual activity while on duty. As a result of Sells’ resignation, he has forfeited his right to appeal this decision.
The internal investigation revealed that Sgt. Sells misused state property and equipment, was negligent in the performance of his duties, and violated the department’s rule on conduct unbecoming, officials said. Colonel Tracy Trott then recommended Sgt. Sells’ dismissal based on the procedural violations and facts of the case.
“Tennessee State Troopers are held to a higher standard of conduct. Sgt. Sells’ actions have violated the trust of the department and the citizens of Tennessee. We will not tolerate any act that will cast doubt upon the credibility of the Tennessee Highway Patrol,” Colonel Trott said.
Sgt. Sells, 45, began his career as a State Trooper in August of 1998. He was initially assigned to Overton County as a Road Trooper. Sgt. Sells later served as trooper and sergeant in Pickett, Overton and Fentress counties, respectively. His most recent assignment was as a sergeant in the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) in Putnam County.
Sgt. Sells was initially placed on discretionary leave with pay on Oct. 2, pending the internal investigation. His resignation is effective Thursday.