Rutherford County Commission passes 3 resolutions in wake of troubled week

Photo: WKRN
Photo: WKRN

RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Rutherford County Commission passed three resolutions Thursday night in the wake of what was a troubled week for the county’s sheriff’s office.

Sheriff Robert Arnold was suspended via a lawsuit Wednesday; the Rutherford County jail failed a second state inspection Thursday; and also on Thursday, a Major with the sheriff’s office was in court and charged with lying about his citizenship.

“The main thing we want people to take away from tonight is how frustrating it is when you have an elected official who’s involved in some kind of misconduct and the inability of the legislative body to do anything about it, and also the inability of the voters to do anything about it,” explained Commissioner Robert Stevens.

At Thursday night’s meeting, the commissioners passed a resolution to move forward with finding a new sheriff.

Applications will be made available starting Nov. 22 in the mayor’s office. Potential applicants have 30 days to apply.

The applications will then go to the state’s Peace Officer Standards Training (POST) Commission, which will screen each applicant.

The qualified applicants will then go back to the Rutherford County Commission but what will be done from there hasn’t been decided yet.

The other two resolutions that passed rely on the state legislature.

One resolution would allow any county commission or city council to suspend an elected official who has been indicted on a felony.

The other would allow a municipality to hold a recall vote if an elected official is indicted on a felony.

However, for those resolutions to go in effect, the state legislature would have to change the Tennessee Constitution.

The Rutherford County Commission said the change needs to happen. Several commissioners expressed that they would have suspended Arnold and held a recall vote over a year ago but they couldn’t under state law.

Each commissioner said that nothing like this situation has happened before and they hope they can set a precedent for the state.