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Caryville mayor pushes for college-educated officers, workshop planned

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By Beth Braden

Caryville Mayor Chris Stanley asked for the board’s thoughts on hiring an officer without POST training when the applicant has other college experience.

“We have had some unusual applications that almost exceed what we are asking for here in the city. We do have people starting to apply now that has criminal justice degree but does not have the training,” Stanley said during the meeting Monday.

In order to become POST certified, individuals must attend the police academy and then take further exams to earn the POST certificate.

“I think that’s something we probably need to look at. More education is always better. I wanted to hear thoughts on that,” he said.

Alderwoman Vickie Heatherly wasn’t sure.

“I agree, education is good, but we’ve already advertised this job haven’t we?”

In February, the board, including Stanley, unanimously voted to advertise a vacant police officer’s position. The position was advertised after the meeting and eight applications were received by the Feb. 21 deadline. 

The job description distributed with each application listed POST training as one of the requirements. The only education needed was a high school diploma or equivalent.

“I didn’t approve it [POST training] to be put in there,” said Stanley. “We can put it back out there anyway we want to.”

The mayor is supposed to view and approve all job postings before the position is advertised, according to the Stanley.

The town’s personnel policy does not outline any duties of the mayor to oversee job descriptions. The policy says the department head will “review the position, its job description and the need for such a position.” The department head then submits a written request to fill the position to the mayor and the position can be advertised after the mayor has agreed the position should be filled.

That requirement was met when Stanley voted in favor of advertising the position in February.

“Are you saying let’s put it [the position] back out there to anybody that wants to apply that’s not POST certified and we will pay for them to go to training?” Heatherly asked.

“If they have experience in police work and also have an education,” Stanley said.

“Now listen, nobody sends me to school. I had to pay my own,” Heatherly answered.

‘That’s great, Vickie. I appreciate that,” Stanley answered.

Of the nine applicants, all of them are POST certified but one.

“Have you interviewed any?” Alderman Lloyd Lawson asked Caryville Police Chief Johnny Jones.

“I had three picked out, and the mayor said [he’s] gonna recommend that we,” Jones began.

“Take a look at it,” Stanley finished.

Jones said hiring an officer and then sending that person to the academy would cost the town $5,700. The training itself costs $3,500, and the officer would have to be paid a regular salary while gone to training.

“I don’t have it in the budget,” Jones said.

“Would that degree be worth the money?” Alderman Allen Smith asked.

“I asked Johnny the question did he think somebody with the criminal justice degree could go over and pass the academy. He said yes,” Stanley answered.

“Can we put this on a special call meeting?” Alderman Glenn Smith asked.

The board agreed to schedule a workshop at a later date to discuss the issue further.

Ultimately, the department head makes the recommendation of who should be hired and the council votes on it.

After the meeting, Stanley said it seems like individuals with more education are beginning to apply for positions more often.

“Recently it seems like we’ve had a couple job applications that’s had college…see, used to, people really didn’t have degree in criminal justice. It’s kind of the same thing, it’s police officer.” He said.

Stanley declined to comment on the cost of sending somebody to the academy. “I’m actually just putting that out there, it’s whatever council wants to do,” he said.

The following people have applied for the position.

Jonathan Bruce

            • POST Certified

            • Certified in Intoximeter ER-IC II Two Test Protocol Operation and Intoximeter EC-IR II Operation

            • Currently unemployed

Dennis Chadwell

            • POST Certified

            • Certified peace officer

            • Currently a reserve officer with the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department

Esley Day

            • POST Certified

            • Radar Certification

            • Tazer Certifiation

            • Correctional officer certification

            • Currently a bus driver with the Scott County School System

Robert Gann

            • POST Certified

            • Correctional officer experience

            • Currently unemployed

Myranda Grubb

            • A.A.S. in Criminal Justice, Roane State Community College

            • Currently employed at Harvey’s Furniture

Charles Martin

            • POST Certified

            • Currently employed at EZ Rentals

Gary W. Perkins

            • POST Certified

            • Currently employed at County One Towing

Gregory Woodson

            • POST Certified

            • Currently unemployed