Newport officials react to arrests

By: Hilary Magacs Email
By: Hilary Magacs Email

NEWPORT, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Mayor Connie Ball said Newport's character is strong:

"People here are great people, they're very supportive of the community. When someone's in need, they're always reaching out," said Ball.

He said the arrests of police captains James Holt and Lynn Shults, along with Holt's wife, Kathy, and her son, Kenny Myers - give the city a black eye. The TBI said all four were involved in a scheme that included buying and selling stolen goods and prescription pills at Kathy's Mobil Pit Stop.

"Very embarassassing - but things like this that happen, to me, aren't an indicator of what our community is really like," said Ball.

Assistant Police Chief and Interim City Administrator James Finchum is upset by the arrests, too.

"Now we're right back up here at square one, we're right back having to build that image back up again. It's very disheartening. But I'm gonna tell you, we're bull-headed and we're determined to make that happen. We're not gonna fold up or roll over, we're going to continue working to make that happen," said Finchum.

Captains Holt and Shults are on unpaid administrative leave, leaving just one detective in the police department.

"Uh oh - better lock all my doors and windows and have my dogs on the premisis," said Becky Garbarino, who lives in Newport.

But Finchum said people shouldn't be worried - the department is shuffling schedules and duties so everyone stays safe.

"The day-to-day minor cases are going to be handled by the patrol division instead of the detective division. Then if something big happens, where a detective does need to be involved, you've got the detective that can come in and help, the chief can come and help, the administrative captain can help," said Finchum.

Slowly but surely, Mayor Ball and Finchum said the police will regain trust.

"We'll recover - this community sticks together like glue," said Ball.

Mayor Ball said because Kathy Holt was elected as an alderwoman, she can continue to serve in that position unless she's convicted of a felony, or she resigns. Holt may show up at the city council workshop meeting on August 5.

Captain Holt remains in custody without bond. Shults, Kathy Holt and Myers are out of jail and expected to be in court on Monday.

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