Resident’s law enforcement career highlighted in new book

Published 5:36 pm Friday, February 9, 2018

From Idaho to Tennessee, Ken Potter has just about seen it all.

After decades of service as a chief investigator and administrator for different law enforcement agencies, Potter’s work in Carter County was recently highlighted in the new book “Kenneth Potter: True Stories Of A Criminal Investigator,” which recently went on sale.

The book, penned by award-winning journalist and author Robert Sorrell, takes a step back with Potter as he goes through some of the county’s most high-profile cases from the 1990s.

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“Years ago, I decided when I was near the end of my career, I wanted to put some of the cases that happened in writing,” Potter said. “These are just a handful of hundreds, if not thousands, of cases I’ve been a part of.”

Working together with Sorrell was a no brainer, according to Potter. Sorrell has worked at three different newspapers in the region — the Erwin Record, Elizabethton Star and Bristol Herald Courier. While his books previous to this endeavor delved more into history, the crime reporter’s passion and accuracy during their time working together made him the number one choice to pen the piece, Potter said.

“When I sat down and gave him a story, it was just exactly that way that I gave it to him,” he added. “I never doubted him for a minute when he worked on a story. I knew Robert had written a few books. When I got more serious about wanting to do the book, the names of people to write it started to pop up. I even had two people call me who wanted to write it. But I knew early on that I wanted Robert to be the author.”

Working on the project was something that didn’t need any second thoughts, Sorrell said. The duo got together roughly two years ago and started the process of talking about different cases.

“I really didn’t know a whole lot about some of the cases,” Sorrell said. “But going through each of the ones in the book, they’re very interesting. These are some of the most heinous cases. A lot of the names featured in this book will be familiar to people from Carter County.”

Along with Potter’s history in law enforcement, the book delves into different cases ranging from crimes on the Appalachian Trail to the infamous Valley Forge case that involved the passing of Angela Montgomery.

Each of the cases are depicted with photos either taken by Sorrell, contributed by Potter or from news reports from the Elizabethton Star and Johnson City Press. To capture the moment of each case, some photos include the entirety of certain cases, including blood spatter.

The process of working on the book also allowed Potter a chance to connect with the victim’s family.

“I think it’s important because some family members are able to receive closure on some cases,” he said. “With these types of cases, you can hear a lot of rumors. I want to make sure the families know what happened and the steps that were taken by officers to bring justice.”

Copes of the book can be purchase by searching or by visiting Sorrell’s website — A signed copy of the book can be purchased from Sorrell’s website.