Sheriff-elect Eric Watson met with Bradley County constables Thursday to discuss plans to have them involved more and work more closely with the residents in their communities when he takes office in September.
“Constables have basically the same authority as a deputy sheriff after they undergo training and are fully bonded,” Watson said.
“I want the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office to be able to work hand-in-hand with the constables,” he added.
Warrant service has been an important part of a constable’s job.
Watson said he wants to work with the constables to be more active in Bradley County, and institute a variety of programs once taking office.
“Of course training is one of the most important parts of any job; we want to invite constables to take part in specialized training that will help them in their communities in Bradley County,” Watson explained.
“For the past two years, constables in Bradley County have asked me to coordinate their training. That led the Tennessee Constable Council to develop and maintain a training schedule for all constables in the state,” Watson said.
Constables are required to complete 40 hours of training. No other course completion is required, other than yearly firearms qualifications.
Opening the opportunity for additional class courses such as how to handle family or domestic situations will help constables in their respective communities, Watson said.
Watson also proposed that constables perform home security checks, senior citizen checks, aid BCSO deputies in serving papers, aid with evictions, work security details and events as well as help with traffic issues.
“The constables are elected volunteers. This will help save money for the taxpayers of Bradley County,” Watson said.
“Ira Cox was a legend in Bradley County. He served as constable for many years, and also spent endless hours as a volunteer with Bradley County Rescue. He was one of the finest and hardest-working constables I have ever known, and spent virtually every second of his life assisting in some capacity,” Watson explained.
According to Watson, Cox was responsible for his appointment to the Constable Council regarding training and schedules.
“It won’t be Sept. 1, but I want to initiate an Alzheimer’s and Dementia Registry. The disease doesn’t always strike senior citizens. If we can learn about a person who suffers from this disease, we will know better how to handle any situation that may arise,” Watson said.
According to Watson, this is just one area where training for constables and deputies is key.
“I am very excited to come on board with the new sheriff,” said Constable Wayne Henry of District 4.
Those in attendance were District 2, Richard “Dickie” Alford; Henry; District 5, Steve Anderson; District 6, Dewayne Hicks; and District 7, Brent Runyon.
District 3’s Jason Corum and District 1’s Garry Moore were not in attendance.
Watson said he has been meeting with other officeholders as well as former sheriffs in preparation of taking the office of sheriff in September.