Lunceford announces re-election bid for Sheriff

Published 5:27 pm Wednesday, January 31, 2018


Dexter Lunceford is announcing his candidacy for Sheriff of Carter County in the 2018 election.

Lunceford is a 1975 graduate of Hampton High School and a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, having served from 1976 until 1979 and receiving an honorable discharge.

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“I have been married to my wife, Pamela Grindstaff, for 31 years and together, we have two daughters, Tessa and Jessica,” Lunceford said. “We have been active in our church, Caldwell Springs Baptist, for 35 years.”

Lunceford began his law enforcement career in 1984 at the Carter County Sheriff’s Office. He also worked with the Johnson City Police Department before accepting a position with the Tennessee Highway Patrol, where served for 23 years before retiring from that agency.

In 2014, Lunceford was elected to serve as Carter County Sheriff.

“Since being elected Sheriff, I have been certified as a Public Administrator by the University of Tennessee and have completed the F.B.I.’s Law Enforcement Executive Development program,” Lunceford said. “I was elected by the Sheriffs of 24 Eastern Tennessee counties to serve on the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Sheriff’s Association.”

During his campaign for Sheriff in 2014, Lunceford said he promised to operate within budget, increase the number of officers on patrol, to develop an aggressive drug enforcement strategy, and better manage the resources of the Sheriff’s Department.

“As of today, we have increased the number of patrol officers assigned to the streets of this county from 18 in 2014 to 28,” Lunceford said in a released statement on Wednesday. “We have joined with the Elizabethton Police Department to develop a Cooperative Drug Enforcement Division, with five full-time drug investigators working together in a strategic partnership aimed at taking drug dealers off our streets. Many of the efforts of this division are not published in the local media due to ongoing investigations, and they need to remain confidential to be successful, but I want you to know that the work of this division has led to over 250 drug-related arrests within the past year alone.”  “Additionally, these investigators work with federal agencies to define ongoing large-scale drug conspiracies because I believe that the best way to target the drug problem in this county is to seek out and arrest those who are ultimately responsible for the importation, delivery, and sales of illegal drugs,” Lunceford added.

Among his other accomplishments during his first term in office, Lunceford lists the reinstatement of the Drug Awareness and Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program back into the county schools, re-establishing the defunct K-9 program which now boasts certified K-9 officers, and establishing a power shift with a primary focus on the service of arrest warrants.

“Since being established, over 10,000 arrest warrants have been served, resulting in a decrease of back-logged warrants,” Lunceford said. “In 2014, there were over 4,000 arrest warrants on file; today there are approximately 1,400. This has greatly reduced the number of wanted individuals roaming our streets, and has shifted a highly transient group of individuals engaged in criminal acts to other areas outside of our county.”

Lunceford said he also developed a Computer Intelligence Unit within his department to maximize the use of technology to track and locate criminals as well as to aid investigators in solving crimes. According to Lunceford, his department is one of only a few in the state that is completely self-sufficient in the computer technology investigation area.

“All of these things, along with many other programs, training, and equipment have been accomplished through better management of existing resources, not new tax dollars,” Lunceford said. “What this means to the citizens of Carter County is much better equipped and trained officers, along with a tangible reduction in crime.”

“Of all the accomplishments within the past three years, I am most proud to report that property crimes have been reduced by 29 percent and overall crime is down 22 percent, and overall arrests are up 13 percent,” he added. “If re-elected, I pledge to continue moving the Carter County Sheriff’s Office forward and to continue doing everything possible to help make this county a safer place to live, work, and to raise a family.”

Lunceford said anyone with questions or comments can contact him at 423-278-6013 or visit his website