Rep. Eddie Bass, a retired county sheriff, has introduced a resolution in the Tennessee General Assembly affirming the role of the constitutional sheriff in Tennessee counties. HJR771 proposes an amendment to the Tennessee Constitution that would define the county sheriff as the chief law enforcement officer in his or her county. The proposed amendment states:
The sheriff, who shall be the chief law enforcement officer of the county in which he or she is elected shall have full law enforcement jurisdiction over his or her county and will command said county with the highest ethical standards and professionalism to insure integrity. The duties of the elected sheriff shall be as follows: It will be the duty of the elected sheriff to uphold this Constitution and the Constitution of the United States, to provide full law enforcement services through out his or her county, to assist all other municipal law enforcement agencies in his or her county, as well as providing law enforcement services for any municipality that elects not to have their own law enforcement agency.
Rand Cardwell, Tennessee State Director for OathKeepers reviewed a copy of this legislation and responded that the amendment “is much needed. To my knowledge, Knox and Shelby Counties, both Charter forms of government, usurped the Constitutional powers of the local Sheriff in their county charters. This bill fixes that problem.”