In Special Called Meeting Ridgetop Approves 2 Deputy Plan
RIDGETOP TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) – In a special called meeting Thursday evening, the city of Ridgetop unanimously voted to approve a proposed agreement to have the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office take over law enforcement services for the city.
Smokey Barn News attended the meeting and broadcast the meeting live. You can watch a recording of the live broadcast here or click on photo left. The special called meeting was not well attended. Several citizens expressed an interest in speaking before the vote but were denied. The vote was unanimous, the plan was approved.
The signing of the deal comes after a year of meetings, frustration, and turmoil for the city of Ridgetop.
Back in January of 2019 Ridgetop’s police chief confronted Ridgetop Mayor Tony Reasoner about assigning ticket quotas to his department. No charges were ever brought against the Mayor or any other city leader. After a review of the facts in the case, Special Prosecutor Tommy Thompson decided against prosecution because, according to him, what they did was not a “criminal act.”
According to Thompson, the only real applicable statute (39-16-516) does address ticket quotas but only as a directive. “This statute does not create a criminal act but is simply a prohibition against the city in the form of a legislative directive.” – (Additionally) “The statute prescribes the conduct of the city only, and not any person in their individual capacity.” FULL STORY
After Thompson’s decision, Ridgetop’s police department went from a police force of about five officers down to zero when the city disbanded the department altogether. Then, following a brief legal battle, the department was reopened and two officers were hired back. MORE Then city leaders downsized the department to just one officer citing budgetary constraints. MORE A short time later, the one remaining officer resigned leaving the city (once again) with no police department. FULL STORY
Following the resignation of its last remaining officer, the city of Ridgetop approached the county about receiving additional law enforcement services. The Robertson County Sheriff’s Office is currently assisting Ridgetop by responding to calls for services. In the proposal, the City of Ridgetop offered funding for additional law enforcement services within the city limits equivalent to two full-time Patrol Deputies.
At the Robertson County Commission meeting held on Monday evening (Jan 27, 2020) the budget amendment was presented to the Commission for the two additional deputies. The budget amendment was approved unanimously.
The funding is for salaries, training, benefits, equipment and other related costs totaling $125,000.00, the equivalent of two deputies operating up to 80 hours of service per week. The city of Ridgetop has offered the Sheriff’s Office the use of the city’s old police station as a substation but it is unclear if or how the Sheriff’s Office would use the facility.
According to the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office, the two deputies would operate/patrol within the city of Ridgetop but would be employees of the Sheriff’s Office. They would not be employed or managed by Ridgetop city leaders. The two Deputies would offer a full range of services that include investigatory, patrol, moving vehicle violations, visibility, and calls for service.
Now that the final piece was approved by Ridgetop, the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office can start the process of putting the deputies in place.
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