Knox County Sheriff: No authorization needed for travel, asks citizens report officers asking for letter


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler is reassuring residents that he has not authorized any deputies to pull over people asking for a ‘letter of authorization’ to travel amid the county ‘safer-at-home’ order.

A Knox County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said Thursday they have received complaints from citizens that they are being pulled over and asked for their “letter of authorization” to travel.

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Sheriff Spangler reiterates that he has not authorized any deputies to make stops requesting the document and implores citizens to ask for the officer’s identification, badge number and agency in the event they’re asked for the document. Anyone who has this information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 865-215-2243 or email

Knoxville Police Department spokesperson Scott Erland echoed the sentiment in a release Thursday.

“A public awareness message for motorists in Tennessee: State, county and local law enforcement officers will not pull you over for the sole purpose of determining if you have legal reason to be out of your residence, are employed by an essential business or engaged in essential activity.”

Knoxville Police Department

Knoxville police officers have not been directed or authorized to stop vehicles to ask for documentation. If a KPD officer does so, call the non-emergency line at 865-215-4010 and ask to speak to an on-duty supervisor or call the Crime Hotline at 865-215-7212.

“There is not a curfew in place in Knoxville and you are not required to have official documentation to be out in public.”

Knoxville Police Department

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