Grainger County sheriff-elect appointed chief deputy

Grainger County sheriff-elect appointed chief deputy

Chief Deputy James Harville Chief Deputy James Harville
6 News Reporter

RUTLEDGE (WATE) - Grainger County Sheriff Elect James Harville has been appointed as the Grainger County chief deputy. Harville plans to hold this position until he becomes sheriff in September.

Harville is replacing outgoing sheriff Scott Layel who was at the center of controversy for months after residents and county workers complained he was not showing up for work.

Previous story: Grainger County voters select former sheriff Harville as new sheriff

6 News spoke with Chief Deputy Harville about his plans for the future of the sheriff's office. Harville says he believes holding the position of chief deputy before becoming sheriff will help ease the transition and make him more efficient. He says on September first he will hit the ground running as the new Grainger County sheriff.

Grainger County resident Kim Thompson is looking forward to having James Harville as the new sheriff in September.

“I'm sure that he'll do a good job like he did several years ago. He helped with the drugs around here and I hope that that continues,” said Thompson.

Harville says working as chief deputy before becoming sheriff allows him to weigh in on the budget and get to know employees. He has already made changes in the office. Under Sheriff Layel, three inmates escaped and a lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount of money after three former inmates alleged they were raped by corrections officers while in custody.

“I've actually moved and shifted some personnel responsibilities around to some people within the jail and also transferred some people back into the jail from the road,” said Chief Deputy Harville.

Previous story: 3 inmates escape from Grainger County Jail

When the escapes occurred, locks were not working within the jail. Harville says all new electric locks have been installed.

“I think they've taken some major steps in improving the security both for the correctional officers and for the other inmates,” said Chief Deputy Harville.

Harville says he's also increased patrols in neighborhoods.

“Any law enforcement agencies you have to have a good rapport with the citizens. They've got to trust you to call you and give you anonymous information or any information on any other case,” said Harville.

Many people who live in Grainer County say they appreciate the changes Harville is making.

Harville replaced Chief Deputy Charles Biddle who began serving as acting sheriff after the inmate escape. Harville says Biddle is using his comp time and vacation time until September. 6 News tried calling Biddle, but he did not respond.

Previous story: Grainger County chief deputy authorized to act as sheriff

Harville, served as Grainger County Sheriff from 2006 to 2010. Harville says he is currently taking applications so he can make new hires in September when he becomes sheriff again.

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