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





Protect The Dreamers - And Response

Children of illegal immigrants brought here as juveniles should be able to stay here.  When these children were brought to the U.S. they did not, willingly with any intent, violate immigration laws. They were too young to even know what immigration laws were. For many, this is the only home they have ever known. Now, as educated and otherwise law abiding young adults, it ... (click for more)

Coyote Jack's Won't Close

It is a shame that both Ms. James and Ms. Madhue will be disappointed when they are told that this establishment will not be closing; regardless of its deadly past.  Why, you ask?  Well, if as the article states that both Bella Vita and Coyote Jack’s are under the same ownership, that ownership lies within the hands, at least partially, by the Berke family.  Yes, ... (click for more)

Hamilton County Sheriff's Deputy In Officer-Involved Shooting At Lakesite

A Hamilton County Sheriff's Office deputy was involved in an officer involved shooting in the Lakesite area on Friday morning.   Authorities said it happened around 9:35 a.m. near the 1900 block of Wilkes Avenue.   Deputies were called on "an unwanted party."   There was a confrontation with deputies and a man at the mobile home was shot.   ... (click for more)

EPB Video As Percentage Of Fiber Customers Going Down, But That's Fine With Management

With more and more video customers turning to streaming options, EPB's video is dropping as a percentage of overall fiber customers. But that's fine with EPB management, knowing that all that video streaming needs a wide fiber pipeline to go through. EPB is positioned with the best "gig" service. Greg Eaves, chief financial officer, said 65 percent of EPB fiber customers now ... (click for more)

UTC Women Rally To Beat Wofford 54-47

 The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women’s basketball team outscored Wofford 28-17 in the second half to come away with a 54-47 victory Thursday night at Richardson Indoor Stadium. Chattanooga runs its win streak against the Terriers to 41 straight games. Chattanooga improves to 12-6 overall and 3-1 in league play while the Terriers move to 9-11 on the year and ... (click for more)

UTC's Boykin Named Wrestler Of The Week

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior Scottie Boykin is the Southern Conference Wrestler of the Week for all competition from Jan. 10-16, the league office announced Wednesday. This is the league-high third Moc to win the honor this season.  It is the second career award for Boykin.  Boykin, a native of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, went 4-0 in the Virginia ... (click for more)