A Defense For The Vote For Sheriff Hammond

Tuesday, July 10, 2018
I have been a local law enforcement officer for 36 years, 30+ years of which have been with a large local law enforcement agency. It is the 4th largest Sheriff’s Office in the great state of Tennessee. 

I speak for, nor represent, any agency, entity or group.  I speak only for myself and my family. This opinion was written, and submitted, while off duty. 

I have served honorably as a Sheriff's Deputy, a Narcotics Detective, a Traffic Homicide Investigator, and as a front line supervisor of the dedicated, efficient and professional men and women of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.
Every single day has been an honor. 

I know of which I speak. 

Sheriff Jim Hammond was instrumental in my hiring at this agency when he was Chief Deputy, under Sheriff H. Q. Evatt, in February of 1988. I’m sure there are some days he has regretted that hire! 

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office was one of the first large departments in this state to enact the Tennessee Sheriff’s Office Civil Service Law. 

Then HCSO Chief Deputy Jim Hammond was instrumental in moving us through that process at a time when other law enforcement leaders ran from it. In some rare cases it worked against the Office, but in most cases it worked for the Office, the men and women who served (And serve) and for the citizens we’ve worked for since. 

Our Civil Service Board (CSB) protects both the citizens of Hamilton County, and members of this Agency, and it has for decades. It gives everyone a voice in the machinations of their law enforcement. I personally thank him for that. 

The CSB makes us transparent and accountable, as it should be. It ensures that the rights and responsibilities of both our citizens, and the Deputies who serve our citizens, are foremost. 

Since then, Sheriff Hammond began the process for us to attain CALEA (Commission on Accredidation for Law Enforcement Agencies) certification and he got the HCSO CALEA certified after many years of difficult and tedious work. Our Corrections Division has been similarly certified under his watch. 

Sheriff Hammond recently pushed through the ‘Bridge Plan’ which is saving the taxpayers of Hamilton County, when it comes to our well-deserved pensions, 100s of thousands of dollars over the upcoming years. This plan ensures that the men and women who have sacrificed on the front lines for decades are rewarded with a decent retirement in our later years.

Sheriff Hammond is currently working to fix the abysmally low pay Sheriff’s Deputies are now paid and he is diligently working, along with the Mayor and our Hamilton County Commissioners, to right this wrong. I am supremely confident he will fix this problem, too. 

At this time, we simply cannot compete with any other local law enforcement agencies in our County. We went for decades, under previous administrations, with no cost of living increases while the costs of our benefits have increased exponentially.  In other words, we took real dollar pay cuts every budget year for 20+ years, just to be a small part of a ‘calling’ we chose to answer.

It is solely because the men and woman of this Office are so dedicated to our community that we remain serving under such dire circumstances. We willingly do so under the stellar leadership and guidance of Sheriff Jim Hammond and his current Command Staff. 

Sheriff Hammond is the one elected official who has always fought, tooth and nail, for the men and women he serves, since he was Chief Deputy in the 1980s, and early 1990s, and now, as Sheriff.

Sheriff Hammond has built up the SRO (School Resource Officer) Division so that our children feel safe, and are safe, as they attend our schools. That Division is one of our most important as it guards and protects our future. 

Sheriff Hammond has strengthened the Patrol and Criminal Investigations Divisions to levels that were unheard of 30 years ago when I started. Our Corrections Division is made up of the very finest men and women available. 

Sheriff Hammond has brought cutting edge technology for us to use as tools to fight crime, prevent crime, solve crimes and safely lock up those who have chosen to live outside the law. 

Our Training Division leads the area in providing timely and on-going instruction to both our Deputies and other law enforcement officers to keep us up-to-date. Our Civil Process Division serves court ordered papers that allow everyone to have their day in court. Our Court Security Division ensures that our Judges, juries, members of the Bar and every citizen with an issue before the court is safe and free to argue their case before a fair trier of fact.

Sheriff Hammond has created public/private partnerships to further open a dialogue, and a working relationship, between the Sheriff’s Office and the citizens we serve and protect. 

The Aegis Foundation was created by Sheriff Hammond to provide the tools and training necessary for area law enforcement officers (Not just at the HCSO, but many other local law enforcement agencies) to better provide law enforcement and corrections services to the public, at no cost to the taxpayer. 

As one who has worked for, and with, Sheriff Hammond for nigh over 30 years, I think I can speak, with authority, for his ability to administrate the Office of the Sheriff of Hamilton County, Tennessee.

Sheriff Hammond has built the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office into a leading CALEA certified, high caliber law enforcement agency and one that other agencies seek to emulate. His current Command Staff is second to none and the men and women who serve the citizens as Sheriff’s Deputies of Hamilton County are the best of the best. 

The fact that Sheriff Hammond has done this under tight budgets is a true measure of his ability to administrate the Office of Sheriff of Hamilton County as the highest ranking law enforcement officer in this County. He has always been a good steward of the taxpayer dollar. 

I am respectfully requesting that you, and your family and friends, vote to re-elect Sheriff Jim Hammond, and others, who truly support the men and women who keep you, and your families, safe every day, all day and every night, all night, and even on holidays at great risk to their health, safety and life. 

Please vote for Sheriff Jim Hammond for Sheriff of Hamilton County on August 2, 2018, or get out and vote early! 

Mark Kimsey


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