published Monday, April 9th, 2012

Ben Scott runs for Catoosa County sheriff

PERSONAL GLANCE


• Name: Ben Scott

• Age: 57

• Education: Brainerd High School graduate; bachelor's degree in criminal justice from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

• Experience: 32 years with Chattanooga police and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

Before age restrictions forced Ben Scott to retire from the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2010, the Chattanooga-area native traveled the world before settling as resident agent in charge of his hometown office.

Now Scott, 57, hopes to put his 32 years of law enforcement experience to use as Catoosa County sheriff.

Scott is among four candidates running in the July 31 Republican primary to replace Phil Summers, who is retiring. The others are Lookout Mountain Drug Task Force Commander Larry C. Black, Catoosa County Manager Mike Helton and Maj. Gary Sisk, now chief deputy in the county. No Democrats are running.

Scott said that, as the only candidate who hasn't been a Catoosa County deputy, he brings a fresh perspective after more than two decades under the same leadership.

"I want to try to bring different ideas to the sheriff's department. Intelligence-led policing, problem-solving policing," he said. "My name isn't as well known as some of the other candidates, but (voters) need to look at my qualifications."

His supporters say he is up to the challenge.

"He has a great respect for the law and the individuals and that is a balance, how you treat people," said James Moreland, director of East Chattanooga Improvement, who said he worked with Scott on the East Chattanooga Weed and Seed initiative.

Scott was born in the Sequatchie Valley and grew up in Chattanooga. He graduated from Brainerd High School in 1972 then from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 1983, where he majored in criminal justice.

He worked as a Chattanooga police officer, then joined DEA in 1985. A polygraph examiner, he became chief of the polygraph program and traveled to South America, Pakistan, Thailand and elsewhere to train others, he said.

In 1999, he came home to oversee DEA operations in seven counties of Southeast Tennessee.

Former U.S. Attorney Russ Deadrick said Scott helped establish the Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force, busting drug rings and confiscating illegal drugs being smuggled from Mexico.

"He is down to earth. He is likable and easy to work with. He gets the job done," said Deadrick.

about Joan Garrett McClane...

Joan Garrett McClane has been a staff writer for the Times Free Press since August 2007. Before becoming a general assignment writer for the paper, she wrote about business, higher education and the court systems. She grew up the oldest of five sisters near Birmingham, Ala., and graduated with a master's and bachelor's degrees in journalism from the University of Alabama. Before landing her first full-time job as a reporter at the Times Free Press, ...

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