The Men Who Would Be Sheriff

By: Gordon Boyd
By: Gordon Boyd

Knoxville (WVLT) - Knox County Commissioners first have to decide how to replace a dozen term-limited elected officials, before they pick who will replace them.

The county mayor has given advice on the how.

Volunteer TV's Gordon Boyd looks at who'd like to be the who.

Some of it's coming from the other side of the TV set. You'll hear more about our sheriff's poll in a moment, it's not scientific. But you'd have to work hard to stack it.

Publicly, at least, many are hoping to say the same of the process itself.

"I was an underdog going in and we did very well, just with a lot of volunteers and little
Money," Democrat Randy Tyree insists his surprisingly strong showing against Sheriff Tim Hutchison last fall is reason enough for hope.

But if Knox County Commissioners follow the Mayor's advice:

"There comes a time when you're a Knox Countian before you have a party affiliation," Ragsdale says.

Tyree puts his own odds at 50-50. "It speaks to the qualifications of the individual, and the terms of public service."

"As long as it's a Republican with experience in law enforcement," say Brian Hornback, Knox County GOP Chairman.

"You only hear that from the majority party," Tyree says.

Actually, you hear it from term-limited Democratic Commissioner Diane Jordan too.

"The people went out and voted for these individuals," says Commissioner Jordan.

But at least four Republicans with experience may court commissioners votes: Chief Deputy Tom Spangler, Chief Administrative Deputy J.J. Jones, his immediate assistant Bobby Wagner and former Deputy Larry Hunter.

The Head of the Fraternal Order of Police says his lodge is lobbying for JJ.

"He's well known, he's worked narcotics, he's worked patrol, he's got a lot of credentials," says Stan McCroskey.

Many expect Sheriff Hutchison's word would carry huge weight.

But when we asked his spokesman about a possible endorsement, "He's just very pleased about the four men indicted in the double murder," Knox County Sheriff's Department Public Information Officer Martha Dooley said. "He's been so busy working on that that he hasn't given too much thought to all the other stuff that's been going on. I don't know about endorsement. He didn't mention that."

Tyree admits this Sheriff's race is more than an appointment, but less than an election, "Because you're campaigning through the public with them, to influence county commission to vote for you."

Knoxville voter Vicky Weaver emails us that "Commissioners should choose a sheriff based on his qualifications and not his political affiliations. That "Sheriff Hutchison, was re-elected because
he was a good sheriff, not a good Republican."

The County Commission chair wonders why Tennessee's Supreme Court didn't set time limits.

"I think they wanted us to use caution, and make sure we get it right," says Scott Moore, Knox County Commission Chairman.

Commissioners could start setting their timetables during their regular meeting next Monday.

Including how you, the voter, can speak your mind on who should be sheriff, trustee, clerk, register of deeds and commissioners.

Now here are the latest results from our online poll asking you who you think should be Knox County's new sheriff.

Randy Tyree - 37%
Tom Spangler – 13%.
Other – 13%
Sterling Owen, IV – 9%
JJ Jones – 8%.
Dwight van de Vate – 7%
Larry Hunter – 3%
Jim Andrews - 3%

We remind you that our poll is completely unscientific.


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