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




Roy Exum: Goodbye To My Scooter

The month of August turned out to be unkind, with my dog, my favorite aunt and my magnificent mother all dying within three weeks’ time. As I finally begin to push out the three newest dents in my soul, my habit has been to write something akin to a goodbye note to those I have loved. I’m not ready for Aunt Martha and Mother yet – not by a stretch -- but I remembered Scooter with ... (click for more)

A Haven For Small Business Owners

With the latest incentive recently announced by the City of Chattanooga, the community is becoming a haven for small business owners and entrepreneurs.     The small business incentive program is a win-win for both business owners, while at the same time promoting an incentive for hiring full time employees. We all know that small businesses represent the primary ... (click for more)

Sewell Says City, EPB "Close" On Amount Owed By Utility To City On Street Light Overbilling

City Internal Auditor Stan Sewell told City Council members on Tuesday that EPB and the city are "close" on the amount owed by the utility to the city on street light overbilling. Mr. Sewell said the city computed the amount at about $1.2 million, while he said EPB's auditing firm, Mauldin and Jenkins, has it at $1.5 million for an 89-month period that was audited. Mr. Sewell ... (click for more)

City Council Votes 5-4 On New Process For Naming IDB Members

The City Council voted Tuesday night 5-4 to set up a new process for naming members to the Industrial Development Board (IDB), which currently has four vacancies. The process includes three City Council panels: A (Districts 1, 2, 3), B (Districts 4, 5, 6), and C (Districts 7, 8, 9). Group A will fill two of the vacancies and Groups B and C one each. Agreement ... (click for more)

Hixson Claims Top Spot In 6-AA With Win At Central

Hixson and Central entered their volleyball match on Tuesday tied for first place in District 6-AA as both were unbeaten in three matches. The Lady Wildcats have that top spot all to themselves after pinning a 3-1 defeat on the Lady Pounders in a match held at Brown Middle School's Carole Wilson Gymnasium. Hixson won the first set with ease by a score of 25-12 before winning ... (click for more)

Boyd-Buchanan Whips Silverdale, 3-0, In 5-A Volleyball

The effects of losing six straight matches – a league loss to Grace Baptist and five in the Tennessee Tandem tournament – were still bothering Silverdale Baptist Academy in a District 5-A volleyball match at Boyd-Buchanan. But not nearly as much as the Lady Bucs’ sterling play. Boyd-Buchanan (23-13, 5-1 District 5-A), which also lost to Grace last Thursday, gained momentum ... (click for more)