Thomas Smith announces candidacy for sheriff

Published 12:39 pm Friday, October 22, 2021

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After 27 years of honorable law enforcement service, recently retired Captain Thomas Smith, of the Carter County Sheriff’s Office, has announced his candidacy for the office of Carter County Sheriff in the upcoming May 2022 Republican primary election. Captain Smith is a native of Carter County and a 1976 graduate of Hampton High School. He is a veteran of the United States Navy where he honorably served for 12 years. During his military career, Smith completed three overseas deployments, was assigned to the USS Enterprise and was a two-time recipient of the U.S. Navy’s prestigious Navy Achievement Medal for his professional achievement from superior performance above and beyond the call of duty. After receiving an honorable military discharge in 1988 from the Navy, Thomas Smith returned home to Carter County and began pursuing his dream of a college degree and a law enforcement career. 
Thomas Smith attended East Tennessee State University where in December of 2000, he graduated with honors earning magna cum laude while receiving a Bachelor of Science degree. During this time Smith also began his law enforcement career as a Reserve Deputy Sheriff at the Carter County Sheriff’s Office beginning in October of 1994. Then in 1996, Smith was appointed by the Carter County Commission to the position of Constable for the sixth District of Carter County, where he proudly served until July of 2001. In February of 2001, Smith once again achieved honors earning summa cum laude while attending Walters State Community College where he completed the Basic Police Academy. And in continuous service, Smith was hired as a full-time deputy sheriff for the Carter County Sheriff’s Department in July of 2001. 
During his law enforcement career, Smith has worked in corrections, patrol, criminal investigations, training, Special Operations Group (SOG), Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) and department administration. He was also assigned to the First Judicial District Drug Task Force where he worked as a Drug Task Force Agent responsible for investigating drug crimes in Carter, Washington, Johnson and Unicoi counties. Smith was routinely promoted in rank throughout his career at the Carter County Sheriff’s Office from Deputy Sheriff, to Sergeant, to Lieutenant, to Captain. Having completed well over 1,500+ hours of specialized law enforcement and emergency services training, he specifically has expertise in Basic Clandestine Laboratory Safety Certification, Clandestine Laboratory Site Safety Officer, Basic Narcotics Investigator, Domestic Drug Interdiction, Report and Search Warrant Preparation, ATF Post Blast Investigations, Active Shooter: Phases and Prevention, DUI Enforcement & Sobriety Testing, Intoximeter EC-IR II Test Protocol Operation, Officer Safety, High Risk Event Planning, Tactical Operations I (SWAT), Basic Sniper/Observation, Street Survival Tactics, Emergency Response to Terrorism, Basic Spanish Communication for Law Enforcement, Field Training Officer, Basic Visual Tracking and completed the series of National Incident Management Systems (NIMS). For nearly three (3) decades while serving the citizens of Carter County, one of Captain Smith’s greatest and most rewarding challenges came during his tenure where he served as the Carter County Jail Administrator. Captain Smith took over this position during the transition from the old jail to the new jail in 2012. Most recently, Captain Smith served as the Executive Officer for the sheriff’s department and in this position, Smith was responsible for the department’s budgeting, purchasing, requests for proposals, contracts, monitoring of medical costs, writing and updating policies, and liaison with the Carter County Commission and other county officials.
Thomas Smith is a Conservative Republican and is an active member of Valley Forge Freewill Baptist Church. He has been happily married to Natalie Smith of the Valley Forge community for 44 years and is the proud father of three daughters and grandchildren. 
Upon being elected, Thomas Smith promises to work tirelessly on the following priorities:
– Vigorously attack the devastating and ongoing illegal drug trafficking problem that is taking place in our county on a daily basis by forming a departmental drug task force that will report directly to Smith for oversight and direction.
– Will be a seven-day-a-week 24/7 around the clock WORKING SHERIFF for ALL the citizens of Carter County. Smith is not a 9 to 5 or 10 to 4 p.m. employee. With his experience of working in every division of the sheriff’s office to include budgeting, contract negotiations and a liaison with the Carter County Commission, Smith vows to continuously maintain a strong work ethic and work tirelessly to provide a safe place for you and your family 365 days a year.
 – Will actively pursue the dividing of the county into four patrol zones instead of three zones for better service. As a result, a full-time sheriff’s deputy will be assigned to the Roan Mountain and Elk Mills communities. This will ensure quicker response times to these rural areas of the county and distribute a more equal response of resources.
– Guarantees to be economically conservative with taxpayer finances while submitting a true and accurate annual budget. All efforts will be made at the Sheriff’s Office to not be the reason that taxes are increased. 
– Missing for the last eight years at the Carter County Sheriff’s Office has been a bona-fide and consistent Inmate Work Program geared toward assisting churches, schools and nonprofit organizations who are so greatly in need. Such a program has been greatly missed and will be an immediate boost to the community and the inmates. 
– The Carter County School System will be a major priority with the School Resource Officer (SRO) program. No priority is greater than the safety of our children and the assurance of having at least one deputy sheriff on duty at every school in the county is a must, not a promise. Also, Smith states that he will look at the technology available to connect school administrators, teachers and sheriff’s office personnel in the event of a critical incident at any school. The technology is available today that can accomplish this and prevent another Columbine or Marjory Stoneman Douglas incident.
As Sheriff Smith said he will develop and implement a Field Training Program for the jail officers as well as the patrol deputies that will assist the officers in interpreting the law, department policy and making proper and uniform decisions which will reduce the legal liability for Carter County Citizens. For a lifetime, Smith has remained a staunch supporter of the United States and Tennessee Constitutions. As sheriff, he believes that all rights of the people shall not be infringed upon. This includes the second amendment and the right to bear arms. “Just like our wise and visionary forefathers, I believe in low taxes, minimal government intrusion and the right to keep and bear arms,” Smith said.
He promises to be transparent in working with all county department heads, elected officials and government officials.
In summary, Thomas Smith stated, “I have humbly and proudly served the citizens of Carter County for almost three decades and I guarantee that I will be a working sheriff for all the citizens of Carter County. I have worked hard to learn all aspects of this department and will be able to hit the ground running on September 1, 2022.”

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