Decertification was requested after Dallas Longwith was “discharged by his employing law enforcement agency for disciplinary reasons,” according to a letter from Bradley County Sheriff Jim Ruth to John Welch of the POST Commission.
The hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. on March 22, in Nashville.
BCSO Major Jim Hodgson said this morning no one is certified unless they are actually working for a law enforcement agency that falls under POST regulation. “If an officer leaves POST-certified employment for any reason, he or she loses certification unless or until they are employed by another agency that then re-certifies the officer through the POST Commission. This process has to be followed any time an officer changes employment. One cannot be independently POST certified.”
According to the Jan. 4 termination letter, Longwith was fired after a complaint was received in August 2011 from a neighbor alleging the deputy was “wearing nothing more than boxer shorts (underwear) while mowing your lawn. You were spoken to on this matter and you chose to ignore Sgt. James Dearth and continue to engage in the same manner which resulted in a second complaint from a different citizen in December 2011.”
Longwith said in a recent phone interview he was wearing Tennessee orange boxer shorts and an old T-shirt while he mowed the lawn. The knee-length shorts had buttons. The shorts were not underwear.
The complaint was investigated by former Capt. Eric Watson who supervised the Judicial Services Division at the time of the complaint. Watson found no policy violations and closed the inquiry.
When asked about the second complaint, Longwith said in reply, “Who mows their grass in December?”
He said the identity of the second complainant was not revealed to him. Longwith said his dismissal was politically motivated because he and Watson are friends.
Watson, who represents the 22nd District in the Tennessee House of Representatives, resigned from the Sheriff’s Office in October 2011.
According to a statement released at that time, Ruth said there was difficulty reconciling Watson’s time while the Legislature was in session earlier in the year.
“We determined subsequently there were some issues that in the future would be irreconcilable,” Ruth stated in an October press release. Longwith said the command staff started focusing on him after Watson’s departure.