Law Enforcement Committee reviews recent discussions with public about Sheriff’s Department

Members of Carter County’s Law Enforcement Committee listened to requests from Animal Shelter Director Shannon Posada, who provided proposed new animal control ordinances to improve officers’ abilities to respond to animal cruelty cases.

“These officers, when they say it is animal cruelty, when we have went to court, we have never lost,” Posada said.

The proposed ordinances made the rounds several years ago, and so some research has already been done, but the board voted unanimously to take this on as a research project.

The committee and Sheriff Dexter Lunceford spoke about previous conversations with TLC Director Angie Odom about the list of quarantined homes in Carter County.

“This committee’s job, from my viewpoint, is not to bring people in here with issues involving the Sheriff’s Office, bypassing me,” Lunceford said. “And if you are not careful, that is what this will turn into.”

The last time Odom visited the Law Enforcement Committee, the conversation focused around her, the FBI representative and the Sheriff’s Office representative.

Lunceford said he, himself, received no communication from Odom about the issue.

Lunceford said if people do not like the answers he gives them, they will just go to Law Enforcement and tell them instead, which will only slow the committee down.

“We took the wind out of some sails, we figured out where the responsibilities were, and we took the burden off of you,” chairman Mike Hill said.

Lunceford has a different opinion.

“No, you did not,” he replied.

Ray Lyons said Hill is trying to determine who needs to speak to the committee and who does not, a job he said the board will work together to determine over time.

“It is a tremendous amount of work out of my department to meet these question-and-answer sessions and all this crap that is going around, and I should not have to deal with it,” Lunceford said.

Later in the meeting, Robin McKamey said the committee and Lunceford were making Odom look bad.

“She had taken it to Tom [Smith], and he was going to take it to his chief, is what he told her,” she said.

Lunceford said that was not the proper procedure.

“Tom‘s job is financial,” he said. “That is why she should have come to me. […] Tom works at my direction. Not her direction, not anyone else’s direction.”

On the subject of meeting policy, Hill once again brought up conversations about splitting up their block of four meetings into two blocks of two.

Ginger Holdren said she understood the desire, but questioned whether the committees would work to be as efficient as a result, meaning each meeting might take even more time to finish than they currently do.

The committee approved a motion to request Budget Committee to set aside $2,000 for a possible split in meetings. Holdren and Robin McKamey voted against.

In the Sheriff’s Report, Lunceford responded to Keep Carter County Beautiful Chairman Edward Jordan’s talk with the committee last month about the litter grant.

“The litter problem is not my statutory authority,” he said. “But I try to help them, and I constantly get raked over the coals because we do not send officers up and down the ditch picking up pieces of paper looking for names on it.”

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