Choosing A Sheriff's Candidate - And Response (2)

Friday, April 18, 2014

A heated sheriff's race going on. How do voters decide which candidate should be chosen to lead the sheriff's office for the next four years?

Which candidate has served as a patrol officer? Only Chris Harvey has served as a patrol officer and a K-9 officer.

Which candidate has experience serving as a corrections officer inside the County Jail? Only Chris Harvey has experience serving as a corrections officer. 

Which candidate has served as a narcotics detective and put drug dealers in prison? Only Chris Harvey has served as a narcotics detective and arrested as well as put drug dealers in prison.

Which candidate has worked as an internal affairs detective and reported facts that cleared the name of innocent police officers when wrongly accused and held them accountable when guilty of misconduct? Only Chris Harvey has served as an internal affairs detective. 

Which candidate has been a supervisor for three different sections of the sheriff's office? Only Chris Harvey has served as a supervisor for three different sections; internal affairs, patrol division west sector and patrol division east sector.

Which candidate has earned the respect of the law enforcement community and been endorsed by the International Brotherhood of Police Officers? Chris Harvey has the vast support of deputies and the law enforcement community. 

Which candidate won the Chattanoogan.com Daily Poll? Chris Harvey was chosen by the readers of the Chattanoogan.com poll with over 2,000 votes cast.

Which candidate publicly states he's not a politician? Chris Harvey says he's not a politician but a lawman. 

Which candidate is a lifelong long Republican and demonstrates conservative Christian principles? Only Chris Harvey has been a lifelong Republican and doesn't support liberal Democrats. Chris Harvey has stuck to the issues.

I've been to several of the sheriff candidate debates. Chris Harvey has demonstrated far more knowledge concerning law enforcement and Constitutional principles. Personally I've served 29 years as firefighter. It speaks to me that a man would step forward and put his career on the line in order to run for office. Chris Harvey has the support of law enforcement, those that know there needs to be a new sheriff, and he has mine. 

Ken Moses
Retired Chattanooga Firefighter 

* * * 

Good points about a good police officer, Mr. Moses. Now I must ask questions about the rest of the story. 

Which candidate worked for 17 years as the chief deputy in Hamilton County before spending a decade in international police work? That would be Sheriff Jim Hammond.

Which candidate led the establishment of AEGIS, the Law Enforcement Foundation of Greater Chattanooga formed in 2011 that has grown into a partnership between Hamilton County businesses and members of the law enforcement community? That would be Sheriff Jim Hammond. 

Which candidate led the Sheriff's Department in receiving three national accreditations and, as a result, is the only Sheriff's Department in Tennessee to have the coveted "Triple Crown?" That would be Sheriff Jim Hammond. 

But most importantly, which candidate has for the past four years successfully managed the Sheriff's Department's $30 million budget and over 400-member staff. That would be Sheriff Jim Hammond. 

Jim Ashley

* * *

Both Ken Moses and Jim Ashley make good points. Mr. Ashley, you left some things out.

Yes, Jim Hammond did work as chief deputy under H.Q. Evatt. During which the Sheriff;s Office was investigated for improprieties by the FBI. Eventually, a Sheriff's Lieutenant, Lonnie Hood, was convicted and sent to prison for drug charges, money laundering and extortion. This led to the publicized comment by Hood that Hammond shouldn't throw stones in a glass house. (Times Free Press, May 13 1998) 

As for the foundation. You can't find any information on the foundation filing as a 501 C3. You can't see the way the money has be spent. It's not very transparent. When asked if it's doing anything, officers and deputies say they've seen nothing. Some laugh that it's paying for more expensive conference trips to Nevada for the sheriff. (Times Free Press June 15th 2012) 

You mention the national Triple Crown accreditation. The Chattanooga Police Department has had CALEA Accreditation for years. That's the law enforcement side of the Triple Crown. As for the corrections side of the Triple Crown; I find it interesting Hammond says he needs a new jail on one hand and then says the jail is nationally accredited on the other. If the jail is so good that it is nationally recognized, let's spend money on crumbling schools and leave the successful jail alone.

Hammond is wrong about being the only Triple Crown agency in the state. Shelby County has been Triple Crown certified by the National Sheriff's Association under their last two sheriffs. Hammond is either misinformed or willingly misinforming the citizens of Hamilton County. (sheriffs.org;calea.orgshelby-sheriff.org)

As for successfully managing a budget. Sheriff Hammond was over budget in 2010 and 2011. I don't consider that success nor good management. (Times Free Press 12/24/2012) 

As for managing the over 400-employee staff. Well let's see, nine have been arrested for charges ranging from drug possession to theft. He's transferred and demoted (when he should've fired) a deputy chief for cheating on a test and staff harassment. Hammond has allowed the officer that stole pills from the property room to return to patrol after he said he wouldn't. He didn't fire nor arrest a deputy that had inappropriate actions with an underage girl. I don't consider that good management either.  

Mike Bowman


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