Sheriff Hammond: Defending The Sheriff's Posse - And Response (3)

Monday, June 18, 2012 - by Sheriff Jim Hammond

As your sheriff, I am writing this open letter to the citizens of Hamilton County.  

In recent days, I have been taking a lot of heat from some in the print media regarding my stand on commission cards, special deputies and the Sheriff’s Posse.  I normally refrain from commenting publicly about such articles, because I realize everyone is entitled to their own opinion.  Also, as an elected individual, I know I am fair game.  This time, however; I feel I need to defend this matter more vigorously.

Unfortunately, there are those in our community who strongly oppose our Second Amendment right to bear arms in order to protect our lives.  Fortunately for us, Tennessee and Hamilton County have a rich history regarding the right to bear arms.  Through legislative mandates, the state of Tennessee has established  the right for all 95 sheriffs to issue commissions, special deputy status and even the right to organize a posse which uses law abiding citizens to assist the sheriff in the protection of the county. I believe it is not only very just but significant that the state legislature has never felt the need to change this vital responsibility and obligation of each sheriff. 

Reporters, of course, have access to barrels of ink with which to attack a sheriff’s right to utilize citizens for the safety and welfare of their community.  Callously, that can even include both men and women who are in good standing in the district. Such reporters and staff will even imply that these good men and women are neither fit nor capable of assisting in the protection of their community.  I believe this is an attack not only upon those individuals but also upon the important freedoms we hold so dear as Americans. 

Do I believe I should randomly arm or commission every individual who wants to go armed or act under the color of law like our dedicated men and women in law enforcement?  Absolutely not.  Nor do I intend to pass out these time-honored credentials indiscriminately. There are procedures to be followed, personal record checks to be made and policies and procedures to be followed.  

Even then, sometimes a commissioned individual who passes an initial background check will break the law, but these individuals are most often quickly flushed out and removed from holding commissions.  

By the way, we all know people in every profession of life who have made poor decisions, violated policies or laws and have suffered the consequences, sometimes even bringing dishonor upon their employers. 

As the sheriff of our county, I have enough confidence in our good citizens that they will  behave in a professional manner in their desire to assist in protecting our county. The majority of our commission card holders are certified law enforcement officers who work for other municipalities in Hamilton County. Another few are employed as government officials, and there’s a few who the media has chosen to label as “Friends of Jim.”   

Actually, I would hope that most of the citizens of this great county are indeed “Friend’s of Jim.”  As a realist, however; I know there are political diversities, philosophical discrepancies and sometimes just plain personality differences that would preclude everyone from being a “Friend of Jim’s.” 

Finally, I would say that every citizen in good standing under the law has an open invitation to apply for our Sheriff’s Posse. The Posse is not now nor ever has been an exclusive membership.  It has always been a support group for the sheriff by word-of-mouth invitation. Being a financial supporter of the sheriff has never been a prerequisite to joining.   

I might warn you, though, if you’re a female, there is a very real threat that a certain reporter would delight in printing your age in one of her reports, as she did with my wife without mentioning anyone else’s age in her article.

Look, I understand that we live in a day and age where budgets are strained for law enforcement – but let me assure you that crime never has and never will take a holiday. That’s why these types of citizen support groups are so important to law enforcement.   As your sheriff, I will always stand committed to serve and protect all the citizens of Hamilton County. 

Jim Hammond 

Sheriff of Hamilton County  

* * *

Thank you, Jim.  Too bad you had to speak to the public concerning the inappropriate and needless "journalism" of a few. 

You have done a remarkable job in all you have undertaken to serve our county. 

God bless you. 

Chris Kidwell

* * *

Count me as part of your posse.

Gregg Juster

* * *

In spite of the negative press from the major media outlet in Chattanooga, Sheriff Hammond has done the best job of any sheriff this county has had in recent memory. 

We all, including the media, should be thankful we have him, and support him. 

John L. Odom




Chris Howley Does Not Want Citizen Feedback

Chris Howley, a member of the Signal Mountain Town Council, has voted with his fellow Signal Mountain Town Council members to move along a rezoning law that has potential devastating ramifications for the community of Signal Mountain that he represents. He created a page on Facebook to inform the citizens and to get input from them about what the Town Council is doing.  ... (click for more)

Vote To Save Graduate Medical Education Funding

As a resident physician at UT College of Medicine Chattanooga, I know first-hand the impact Medicare financing for Graduate Medical Education has on physician education and access to care for patients in our community and communities all over the country.  GME funding provides medical school graduates the opportunity to complete the required years of clinical residency training ... (click for more)

Brent Pickard Was Man Shot And Killed By Deputies; 4 From Sheriff's Office On Administrative Leave During City Investigation

Brent Pickard, 46, was the man who was shot and killed by county deputies on Wednesday night after a chase ended on Highway 153.. Four Hamilton County deputies were placed on leave, pending the investigation. At Pine Mar, Pickard crashed and shots were fired resulting in his death.  District Attorney General Neal Pinkston has asked Chattanooga Police to investigate ... (click for more)

Thursday Afternoon Fire Displaces Family Of 3

Chattanooga firefighters rushed to a house fire shortly after  1 p.m. on Thursday  at 4214 3 rd  Ave. Lt. Chris Blazek with Quint 6 said smoke was showing from the eves of the house when the first firefighters arrived. The firefighters forced their way in through the back door and found the fire in the basement, but the flames had spread into two bedrooms. ... (click for more)

Vols Feel It's Almost Football Time In Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – After weeks of preseason training and kickoff in Nashville now just 10 days away, the Tennessee players and coaches are just as excited as their followers for the 2015 season to begin. The sweltering heat of early August has lowered to a late-summer simmer at Haslam Field, signaling that fall is on the horizon and it is almost Football Time In Tennessee. ... (click for more)

CCS Edges Soddy Daisy, 2-1, in Soccer

 A pair of second half goals scored by freshmen Addie Henry and Kate Dirske led Chattanooga Christian to a 2-1 win against visiting Soddy Daisy Tuesday in a girls high school soccer match. The Trojans (2-1) took a 1-0 lead in the 36th minute on a free kick from 25 yards out by Kaylee Markum whose shot hit the far post and went in the goal. Annie Reynolds had given ... (click for more)