HAMBLEN COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — For the first time in more than 15 years, Hamblen County will have a new sheriff.
Last year, current Sheriff Esco Jarnagin announced he would not be seeking re-election. He has been in the position since 2006.
Three men are vying to fill his shoes: Dwayne Collins, Todd Davidson and Chad Mullins. All three are running on the Republican ticket, which means following the election on Tuesday, we will know which one of them is Hamblen County’s next sheriff.
All three have extensive law enforcement backgrounds. Mullins has been employed with the Hamblen County Sheriff’s Office for the past 26 years. Collins spent 17 years with the Morristown Police Department and 12 years with the Tennessee Office of Homeland Security. Davidson also worked at the Morristown Police Department, retiring from the agency after more than 31 years.
What do you think makes you stand out?
Mullins: “I’ve been in every department there at the sheriff’s office. I started as a corrections officer with the patrol division, worked a short time in our criminal investigation division, I’ve been in the narcotics and vice division, and now I’m the operations captain.”
Collins: “My leadership style is transformational. I believe that to be a good leader, good employees want to follow a leader who brings new fresh ideas into the organization.”
Davidson: “I already have a working relationship developed with both agencies, our local sheriff’s department and police department, and outside agencies as well. I presented a platform from day one on what my ideas are and I just feel like we’ve stuck with that plan, and it’ll bring some new looks to the sheriff’s department as well as a new atmosphere.”
What are your top priorities if elected sheriff?
Mullins: “I worked narcotics for a long time, and to continue cracking down on narcotics is the number one priority.”
Collins: “To address the jail with the recidivism and also the substance abuse and trying to lessen the number of inmates and try to attract quality employees such as jailers and deputies who are looking to get into law enforcement.”
Davidson: “We’ll have a team of teams in place. What that consists of, is we work together as an agency, there’s teams within the organization, as well as outside, we’ll work with the local agencies, the local police department, the county commission, the TBI, whoever we need to to help us get the job done at the end of the day, that will be what we make as one of our top priorities.”
What do you want voters in Hamblen County to know ahead of Tuesday?
Mullins: “That I will be a hands on working sheriff. I will be out there with the men and women on patrol, the investigation team and also the narcotics division. I will be with all of them.”
Collins: “The only thing that I ask the voters to do is to look at all of their candidates and research your candidates. What did they bring to the table? Because history is a predictor of the future. Because if you’re going to predict the future, then you had to have a little bit of something historically that you were doing that can show the platform of where you’re going with the future. Just to come out with a future idea and not have any background that comes with it. I just want voters to do some great research because everything has to align, from the past to where you’re talking now, going to the future, does everything align the way that your candidates are saying. That includes me. What I bring to the table and what I’m offering. Research me, and find out if my past aligns with where I’m trying to go with the future.”
Davidson: “I want the voters to know that we appreciate that they take the time out of their day to go out and vote. This is an important election, whoever wins this sheriff’s race will probably be a long-term sheriff, so it’s important that they take a look at me as a candidate and my qualifications and my platform and make a decision tomorrow.”