Sheriff Spangler’s statement for county commission meeting 06152020.
Commissioners and Citizens of Knox County, I felt it appropriate and timely to address you both on a few things given the attention to Law Enforcement Officers around the country.
The first thing I want to say is that I am honored to be the Sheriff of Knox County and it is with pride and honor that I tell each of you that I truly believe in my heart that we have some of the finest Law Enforcement Officers in the country right here in Knox County, Tennessee.
They wake each morning or begin their evening or night shift by placing their badge over their heart. That star represents far more than the authority to enforce the laws of Tennessee. That star represents an oath that they each have taken along with myself, to protect and serve our GREAT COMMUNITY. I absolutely believe we do it without HESITATION or DISCRIMINATION.
Mr. Floyd did NOT deserve to DIE, PERIOD!
I also believe that the overwhelming majority of Law Enforcement Officers all over this country but most certainly here in Knoxville and Knox County decided to become Law Enforcement Officers for the same reasons that I did over 30+ years ago, it definitely WAS NOT for the MONEY, it wasn’t for the working conditions or even the occasional discounted meal (although, that is much appreciated). It was to simply MAKE A DIFFERENCE, TO BE A DIFFERENCE MAKER, and TO HELP PEOPLE IN NEED.
I have felt no need to make any changes to how we do things at the Knox County Sheriff’s Office in regard to enforcing the laws. Many may ask why? The reason is simple the men and women of this agency know what is expected of them, they know what I expect and they also know that ANY behavior out of character for this agency will not be tolerated.
I think with recent events that has been proven as I have had to deal with employee issues. Furthermore, I want to be clear that neither I or my men and women should be concerned with the color of your skin, your ethnic background, your religion or your sexual preference when we are dispatched to answer a call for service. We simply SHOW UP! After all, when you call 911 that is what you expect, you expect a Deputy will answer the call and SHOW UP.
I also must say this, I WILL NOT DILUTE OR WATER DOWN crime or criminals, nor will I IGNORE THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS on the VICTIM or VICTIMS that are a result of CRIMINALS COMMITTING CRIMES. Those are usually lasting effects, whether you’re a Mother whose child has been murdered, a small business owner who lost a large amount of inventory that insurance won’t cover, The teenager who has repeatedly been raped by a close friend of the family, you see NO MATTER THE CRIME there is ALWAYS a VICTIM and we must do our part to never forget them and their struggle.
In addition, I have always had a solution for not having an altercation with ANY Law Enforcement Officer. DON’T commit a crime. It sounds so simple and maybe trivial but it is nothing but the truth.
I want to reiterate something that I have said to the media many times, if one of my people does something that is out of line, out of character and most certainly against the law, they will be dealt with. I will also DEFEND any of my Deputies who are simply DOING THEIR JOBS, I DO NOT WANT THEM TO BE AFRAID OF DOING THEIR JOB WHICH IS PROTECTING AND SERVING THIS COMMUNITY FOR FEAR OF RETALIATION FROM MYSELF OR ADMINISTRATION.
Lastly, I will close with this, we have some amazing people in and around Knox County who have gone above and beyond to let myself, Chief Deputy Lyon and most importantly the men and women on the street and in our correction facilities know that they love and care for them and that they appreciate the job they do. We as a county, as a community must continue to better ourselves daily. Improvement in any area of life begins within, it starts with each of us evaluating ourselves and seeing what areas need improvement and working with intention on those areas. It is an honor to be your Sheriff and to represent the selfless men and women of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office. May God bless each one here this evening and May God bless Knox County and our United States of America.
Tom Spangler, Sheriff