Community members react after Newport public officials arrested

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NEWPORT, Tenn. (WVLT) -- For many, the accusations against people paid to protect and represent Newport are shocking:

"I wouldn't expect my police captains to be arrested, no," said Edward Gates, who lives in Newport.

The TBI said Captain James Holt was on duty and peddling stolen goods and prescription pills at the Mobile Pit Stop, owned by his wife, Kathy Holt. Authorities said Kathy - and her son, Kenneth Myers, who worked at the gas station - were also involved in the operation, along with Detective Captain Lynn Shults. The TBI said Shults also participated in the illegal activity, though in a lesser extent, while on duty.

"I was really surprised that that was going on - I mean, it's within a 100 feet of the high school, football field," said Gates.

Ed Rigsby said he's gotten to know Kenny Myers and the Holts well over the years because he stops at the gas station nearly every day. He said he never noticed anything unusual there and said they're all good people.

"James - he's been a policeman around town for years. I've known him - I've known James for 20 years and it does surprise me about James being involved in such a thing. I wouldn't have dreamed it," said Rigsby.

Many are worried about how these arrests will make their town look:

"We do have a lot of good people in this community. There are drug problems everywhere - I just feel like we just very negative publicity when we're in the news, but we have a lot of positive things that go on here," said Angie Cody, who lives in Newport.

Others are hopeful the arrests might prevent more negative publicity in the future.

"I hope justice is served. I hope they get what they have brought upon themselves. And maybe it'll turn some others from not doing that," said Gates.

Police Chief Maurice Shults wasn't available for comment.

Mayor Connie Ball said the arrests are an embarrassment for the town, but said they're not a reflection of what Newport is really like.

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