Regional flair included at 2018 constable training course

Published 3:12 pm Thursday, June 21, 2018

For two weeks, the bond shared from constables across the region was able to be strengthened locally.

Wednesday was the conclusion of a busy two-week stretch for the annual constable training program offered at Carter County Emergency Rescue Squad’s facility in Elizabethton. The class, taught by Carter County Constable Ken Potter, was able to incorporate several constables and citizens from across the Tri-Cities for one common goal — to serve the public.

“Everyone here will have the required 40 hours worth of training, and that includes a full shooting range exercise that we did Saturday,” Potter said. “We had an excellent shooting day, they all did very well and we didn’t have any issues. We’ve covered everything here from traffic stops, DUI, search and seizure, crime scene investigation … all together, we covered around 18 topics. Active shooter training, which is now mandatory, was also offered. Overall, it was a successful training program.”

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Potter mentioned this year’s program saw an increase of participants, with various communities being represented.

Bill Creasy and Frank Vaughn were just two of the different constables that made the trip to Carter County for the course. Both serve as constables in Hawkins County.

“When I heard about it, it was highly recommended,” Creasy said. “That what brought me over here. It’s 100 miles round trip, every day. But it has been worth it. The amount we’ve learned, it has been unreal. Every subject you could think of, it was covered and covered very well.”

Vaughn was quick to second Creasy’s thoughts.

“The class that Ken has taught has been wonderful,” he said. “If you have a question, Ken would stop and answer and that means a lot to me. We’ll definitely be attending future classes. We all should work together. Even though we’re coming from Hawkins County, I really enjoyed working with everyone from all the different counties. This really bonds us together.”

Having a strong region representation was important for the class, according to Mark Carrier. The county constable serves as the vice commander for the Carter County Constables Association and also serves on the Tennessee Constables Association Board of Directors.

“This has been one of the best classes we’ve had,” Carrier said. “For Carter County and the other countries that were represented, I can say they’ll have well-trained constables that will do everything in the power to protect the public.”

Julie Guinn, 2nd District constable for Carter County, added the experience was well worth the two weeks. Guinn is one of the newer constables that came through the class. She was a recent winner in the county’s constable election.

“I was just trying to soak it up like a sponge. Mr. Potter is a great teacher,” she said. “I hope to turn all this information around and take it into the field to serve the community.”

Guinn also stressed the importance about everyone working together for a common goal.

“It’s been perfect,” she said. “We all come from different backgrounds. But it has been amazing to learn what everyone does for our communities.”

One of the more common phrases being tossed around during Wednesday’s event, which featured the class’ graduation, was the credit for Potter’s work as an instructor. Throughout the program, various instructors took time out of the schedule to work with the class to go over new laws.

Moving forward, Potter said he hopes to see the continual growth of the program. An anticipated growth in attendance is expected to take place due to the state’s new law that requires constables to have 40 hours worth of training. Constables have the same rights as officers for police departments, and Potter added the class allows constables to stay up to date with laws in effect to help themselves and the public stay safe.