CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Bradley County Sheriff Tim Gobble on Thursday supported one of his captains, Steve Lawson, Thursday who is seeking the sheriff's job against another department captain, Jim Ruth.
In a campaign advertisement Wednesday, Capt. Ruth, the Republican candidate, said Mr. Lawson, the Democrat candidate, has been an "ineffective and inept leader'' who "replaced an effective and productive Drug Enforcement Unit at the Sheriff's Office with one that has so far been ineffective and not very productive.''
As proof, Mr. Ruth cited a declining drug fund balance in the department's budget.
Mr. Gobble said he has tried to refrain from public comments or endorsements but it was he who replaced the drug unit leadership in 2006. The drug fund has been used for many needed purchases, Mr. Gobble said. In addition, he said, the fund depends on many variables beyond the drug unit's control.
"Steve Lawson and John Stone have done an excellent job managing the BCSO Drug Unit,'' Mr. Gobble said in a press statement. "The real record proves it. . . To question their effectiveness using one statistic in a political ad is unjustified.''
Mr. Ruth agreed during a political forum Thursday that Mr. Lawson, as leader of the Criminal Investigations Division, does not make drug fund decisions. But he stood by his charge that the unit has been ineffective.
See Friday's Times Free Press for complete coverage.