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Lunceford announces re-election bid for Carter County sheriff

Contributed • Updated Jan 31, 2018 at 7:58 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Carter County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford has announced that he is a candidate for re-election in the May 1 Republican primary. Lunceford faces opposition in the primary from Rocky Croy and Steve Stevenson.

“When I was elected in 2014, I made several promises to the citizens of this county,” Lunceford said. “Among these, I proposed to operate within the budget set by the (County) Commission, to increase the number of officers assigned to patrol, to develop a more aggressive drug enforcement strategy, and to better manage the resources that already existed so as to maximize the efficiency of the Carter County Sheriff’s Office without additional burden to the taxpayers. I am proud to say that I have kept those promises to the citizens of this county.”

Lunceford said the number of patrol officers assigned to the streets has increased from 18 in 2014 to 28 today. The department has also joined with the Elizabethton Police Department to develop a cooperative drug enforcement division, with five-full time drug investigators working together to arrest drug dealers.

Lunceford said he has worked to establish a pay scale that helps retain qualified and skilled officers, lowering the cost of training new officers.

He said the department has also replaced its worn out fleet of vehicles. Lunceford said the average mileage of vehicles was in excess of 180,000 when he took office. Today the average age of the fleet is under 35,000 miles, resulting in savings in maintenance.

Lunceford has also placed a Drug Awareness and Resistance Education officer in each of the county’s schools.

He said there are now three police dogs operating in the department. He said the K-9 program was defunct when he took office.

The department has also developed a computer intelligence unit, which is used to track and locate criminals. Both the patrol and investigation divisions use the unit to help solve crimes.

He said all of these improvements were accomplished through better management of existing resources, not new tax dollars.

“What this means to the citizens of Carter County is much better equipped and trained officers along with a tangible reduction in crime.”

He said overall crime is down 22 percent and arrests are up 13 percent.

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