RIDGETOP TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) – Ridgetop is looking for a new police chief after Jeff White resigned from the position last week. His last day will be October 23.
“It was just time for a change,” White (who has lived in Greenbrier and Robertson County for most of his life) told Smokey Barn News on Wednesday.
It’s been an interesting tenure for White who started out his first week on the job dealing with a bank robbery. That was three years ago and since then White has managed to make Ridgetop one of the best equipped cities in Robertson County. How did he do it? Government programs.
According to White, (with a population in Ridgetop of about 2000 and a very limited budget) his department has acquired Hummers, bulldozers, generators, trucks, diesel powered motorcycles, a snow plow and even Glock Pistols, all free of charge through the government’s L.E.S.O. program. To see how Chief White’s utilization of military equipment compares to other local police agencies click here but in Smokey’s last comparison report, his department was on top.
Under White, Ridgetop has also been awarded close to $140,000 in grants from the Governor’s Highway Safety Office, the Department of Justice and the TDOT Safe Routes to School project. This money was used to buy new equipment for the department such as AR-15 rifles and the new X 26 Tasers.
The money is also used to provide training to Watauga elementary students in safe walking and biking habits. Each student at Watauga was also given a new bicycle helmet this past spring. The school was also supplied with several bicycles in which to carry out this program throughout the years.
Smokey Barn News asked Chief White what his fondest memory has been on the job. “My fondest memory is greeting kids to school every day at Watauga. My wildest memory was having a bank robbery my first week here,” White said. Click here for Smokey’s coverage of the bank robbery.
Chief White said that after releasing the video of the robbery to Smokey Barn News the suspect was in custody by the end of the next day. “I wanted the guy identified and we caught him in less than 24 hours,” White said.
“Being that it was my first week on the job at the time I give all the credit to the department. They did an outstanding job fielding leads, it was a real team effort,” White said.
As far as the future for White, he seemed a little uncertain and contemplative as we spoke. “I’m looking at a few things and more opportunities have developed since I announced my departure, it’s just time for something new,” he said.
The opening he leaves behind has been posted internally, if no candidates emerge then the city will reach out for an external candidate.
In the short term, when the board meets Tuesday they will decide then who will act as interim chief until a permanent candidate is located. Sources tell Smokey Barn News that Ridgetop’s Assistant Police Chief David Wiley will likely step into the roll temporarily.
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