Message From Sheriff Berrong

We are continually seeking innovative ways to inspire our deputies to continue to uphold our mission of providing outstanding law enforcement, corrections, and criminal justice services through a partnership with the community that builds trust, reduces crime, creates a safe environment, and enhances the quality of life. We work hard to achieve these goals.

We are so blessed in Blount County to live in a supportive community and receive strong backing from our county leaders. Blount County is a great place to live and work because of the high quality of life and a safe environment to work and raise our families. I attribute this in large part to the professional law enforcement officers in Blount County. Our Sheriff’s deputies strive to uphold our mission statement, which in part is to provide law enforcement, corrections, and criminal justice services through a partnership with our community. We not only have a robust community partnership, we have strong cooperation with the other law enforcement and first responder agencies in Blount County. These strong ties not only help us do our jobs more effectively, it helps you, the members of our community. We are all in this together, with the ultimate goal of helping our citizens and safeguarding our community. That makes all of us winners.

The Blount County Sheriff’s Office continues to tackle challenges head-on. One of those
challenges is staffing. The Sheriff’s Office has come a long way in terms of a living wage for
our deputies, but there is still room for improvement. With the backing of the majority of our
Blount County Commissioners, we’ve been able to provide decent pay raises to our
employees the past couple of fiscal years, and we are working toward bringing our pay scale
up even more for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

However, a strong economy and better paying jobs are a lure for some of our young and
talented deputies and prospective deputies. Couple that factor with a national sentiment
of negativity toward law enforcement, and it makes it harder to retain and recruit high
caliber deputies. We are striving to provide a pay scale that is equitable and will allow our
deputies to earn a living wage.

It is no secret the opioid epidemic that has overtaken our nation is firmly in place in Blount
County. All of our deputies in every function are forced to deal with the consequences of those
addicted to opioids and other harmful drugs. Agents with the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force
continue to focus on keeping drugs like heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, and methamphetamine out of the hands of our citizens, but these powerful and dangerous drugs still appeal to some people. It is unfortunate and sad, not a day goes by that one of our citizens does not overdose. In 2018, deputies administered their units of Naloxone a record 56 times, and that does NOT include the doses administered daily by other Blount County first responders. That number has more than quadrupled since 2016, our first full year of carrying the lifesaving Naloxone. This is frustrating from a law enforcement perspective, but more importantly, it is difficult to witness good people take this dangerous path. It is my promise to continue to fight this battle for our people.

With that said, there are many good things happening in our agency and in this community.
Our economy is in excellent shape and Blount County’s leaders are attracting many great businesses and individuals to open up and move here. Our leaders place a high priority on quality of life for all. In February, I, along with other community leaders, signed the Covenant for a Better Community, vowing to uphold the principles of mutual respect, condemns violent
hate crimes and promises to support victims. I am very proud to be included in this covenant.
We also more than doubled our EMR (Emergency Medical Responder) program with the
addition of 12 new EMRs. This is a program we started in 2017 with the help of Blount County
Mayor Ed Mitchell. The first full year of the program was a resounding success, and our EMRs assisted numerous individuals who were in need of medical care until first responders arrived. We are very proud of this one-of-a-kind program.

I am proud and grateful that the citizens re-elected me as Sheriff of Blount County, and we look forward to serving our citizens in the years to come. Please do not hesitate to call on me if there is anything I can do for you.
Sheriff Signature
Sheriff James L. Berrong