Newly elected and re-elected Knox County officials swore an oath Friday to uphold the United States Constitution, the Tennessee constitution and the Knox County charter.
Among those who raised their right hand were newly elected county mayor and former WWE Professional Wrestler Glenn Jacobs and new sheriff Tom Spangler. Both Jacobs and Spangler have already started taking action.
Beginning Sept. 12, Spangler says he’s taking deputies off their 12-hour shift.
“That was something I was pretty adamant about. I just don’t like the officers being out there working that long of hours. It’s not conducive for their safety and it’s not conducive to the safety of the public out here,” Spangler said.
Spangler also says he won’t be rebranding cruisers or KCSO gear with his name. While he thinks it’s important people know who their sheriff is, Spangler explained, he hopes to accomplish it by face-to-face interactions rather than branding.
Spangler seemed excited to take on the role.
“It’s a big job and again, I am very humbled and I am very honored that the citizens of Knox County put me in this position or elected me. I’m almost speechless with that because that’s how much it means to me,” he said.
Meanwhile, after a hard-fought primary and months of national media coverage, Glenn Jacobs took his oath in front of constituents.
In order for Knox County to be the economic and tourism hub Jacobs hopes it can become, he acknowledges it takes quality education. Pledging his full support behind Knox County Schools and its teachers, Jacobs also said he would personally be involved in literacy and anti-bullying programs.
“I think now with me being a large human being as well as a professional fighter could ever be picked on, but I was, I don’t know I would consider it bullying, but nevertheless I understand what that feels like so it is a personal issue of my own,” he said.
In a speech following his swearing-in, Jacobs said “Knox County is blessed to be positioned between two world-class research institutions,” referring to the University of Tennessee and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
He hopes to be able to leverage the assets to become a global player in advanced manufacturing, energy, and materials research and development. In fact, he says a county mayor’s top priority should be jobs and a business-friendly environment.
Finally, Jacobs wants to find answers to the opioid crisis, saying “every generation is defined by challenges it overcomes.”
He announced to the crowd, in conjunction with Knoxville City Mayor Madeline Rogero, that he’s hosting a community summit Oct. 18 called “Knox United: A Mayor’s Call to Action” which will include community leaders, business owners, citizens and the Metropolitan Drug Coalition. He hopes the summit lead to steps that will “turn the tide” of opioid abuse.
Spangler and Jacobs officially take over at midnight on Saturday.