published Thursday, April 17th, 2014

It's time for a change: Harvey is best choice for Hamilton Sheriff

Hamilton County Sheriff: Chris Harvey

An 18-year veteran sheriff's deputy and investigator in the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department is looking to unseat his boss as the county's sheriff.

We think that's a good idea, and we endorse Chris Harvey.

Harvey, 41, has a wide range of experience as a law enforcement officer -- from jailer to K-9 officer to internal affairs detective to patrol supervisor -- and he would bring that experience to bear should he defeat 69-year-old Jim Hammond.

Hammond counters that his own experience as an administrator and manager trumps Harvey's.

"I am a politician. My job is not to be out on the street on patrol. My job is to be an administrator," Hammond has said.

But it is Hammond's management and administration -- sometimes the lack of it -- that makes us believe it's time for a change.

For the last several years, Hammond has struggled to stay within his budget after he finished the 2011 fiscal year over his nearly $28 million budget. County commissioners had to vote to give him an extra $325,000. The following year, the county finance department audit showed him over budget by about $275,000, but commissioners declined to make up the difference, according to newspaper archives.

He kept on the payroll (after a suspension) a deputy who exploited his authority and initiated an inappropriate relationship with an underage girl who was involved in the department's Explorer Post program.

He hired his son at an inflated salary to be the department's full-time webmaster.

Hammond also has trouble with what he says: He has said that people are afraid "because we have a black president," and he has declared that he would send gang members "to the funeral home." But all the while, he allowed a convicted former sheriff's deputy (and Hammond's friend), Lonnie Hood, to do community service work at the jail.

Harvey says those things bring shame to the sheriff's department, and morale is the lowest he's seen there in 18 years -- even lower than when Hood pleaded guilty and was sentenced in 1998 to 5 1/2 years for conspiring to distribute anabolic steroids, conspiring to extort money from inmates for contraband tobacco, tax fraud and money laundering. Morale is even lower than when former Sheriff Billy Long was convicted in 2008 on drug conspiracy, firearms, money laundering and extortion charges.

It's true that Harvey doesn't have administrative experience. A stronger challenger for Hammond would be nice. One retired former law enforcement officer here says he wouldn't endorse anyone running now unless John Wayne or Clint Eastwood showed up.

But that won't happen this election year.

We believe Harvey, though politically more conservative than we like, has integrity and will grow in the job. He already has demonstrated that he can do that -- rising through the ranks at the department for 18 years and being trusted enough to be an internal affairs investigator.

He thinks education and mentoring are better approaches to gang problems than funeral home threats.

He says he would reverse Hammond's trend of diverting salary money from officers to created civilian positions that previously were volunteer positions. That would put more officers in the jail and more deputies on the streets, according to Harvey.

With no Democrats seeking the office, the primary winner will be the next sheriff.

We endorse Chris Harvey.

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
aae1049 said...

Darn Right Change is needed. Here is a 8 year summary of the Sheriff's office in 90 seconds.

Lefties are doing a better job endorsing.

April 17, 2014 at 12:52 a.m.
sangaree said...

Are you nuts Pam? This is the very same Chris Harvey who stated he supported the open carry bill because he felt it will make our streets safer? As sheriff, he'll likely just turn out to be another far right winger with serious issues sporting a badge and controlled by the even nuttier NRA.

April 17, 2014 at 10:24 a.m.
aae1049 said...

So, you are a "left winger?" Do share all the cute references us, it reminds me of high school.

April 17, 2014 at 11:48 a.m.
sangaree said...

Aren't you the one who got your panties all up in a wad when Sheriff Hammonds went up thar around Apison and rounded up and arrested all those drunken teens? Didn't you threaten right here on TFP discussion forum that he *didn't have to worry about getting reelected for sheriff again?" Talk about reminders of high schoolers. LOL

April 17, 2014 at 12:32 p.m.
aae1049 said...

I am not sure about the teens, "threaten" no, do we wish he would not be re elected absolutely. However, now that you mention it, rather silly to do teen roundup's when we have 120 or so shootings a year don't you think. Misguided.

April 17, 2014 at 6:44 p.m.
sangaree said...

What's "misguided" is being selective on which crimes to punish. Underage drinking is still a crime. When a group of drunken teens go barreling down a road only to crash and wrap themselves around a pole killing everyone inside or killing an entire family innocently driving home from a movie, and it could have perhaps been prevented if they'd only been arrested that first, fifth or 10Th time they were caught, but were allowed instead to call their parents to pick them up, it's still a death or deaths that could have been prevented.

April 17, 2014 at 7 p.m.
aae1049 said...

Ok then, well tomorrow is Friday, get right on that beer drinking that may be occurring, while there were 2 or more shootings in the last 15 hours.

April 18, 2014 at 12:14 a.m.
sangaree said...

And while we're at it, let's also ignore the rapist and child molester too because there were two more shooting in the last 15 hours. Thanks for making yourself clear.

April 18, 2014 at 8:41 a.m.
GaussianInteger said...

And not to mention, alcohol kills a lot more people annually than shootings. Sounds to me the police should be focused on "beer drinking".

April 19, 2014 at 3:59 p.m.
sangaree said...

I sometimes have to drive into town late at night and in the wee hours of early morning. Like 2-4 am to pick up a relative who works at a restaurant in town. I'm always amazed by the number of intoxicated patrons stumbling down the street who are not your typical homeless drunks sitting in a corner quietly sipping from a brown bag. These individuals are your yuppie types. Middleclass and up. There are police all over, but I guess they've been told to just observe and not arrest anyone. Yet that homeless or poor soul would be arrested and charged with public intoxication. I can recall one such Yuppie drunk in particular who nearly walked out in front of a car until his friends pulled him back. But he still kept stumbling closer and closer to the edge of the curb. The only reason he didn't get hit when he stumbled almost in front of that moving car was because traffic is so lite that time of the morning and the car was able to swerve and miss him. Some of them must be driving home while still intoxicated. Another tragedy waiting to happen before they flatten someone crossing the street or wrap themselves around a pole.

April 19, 2014 at 5:21 p.m.
please login to post a comment

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »


Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.