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Graybeal says relationships build credibility

Relationships built during his tenure are one of the strongest reasons Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal says he should remain in office for a fourth term.
The WCSO recently received national accreditation for the seventh time and has officers assigned to most federal law enforcement agencies, with one to be assigned soon to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
“When you have the relationships in place, it let’s you do a lot for people,” he said.
Relationship on the local level also pay off. The Washington County Emergency Communications District, the consolidated public safety dispatch center, answers all 9-1-1 calls in Washington County and dispatches WCSO officers, in addition to other law enforcement and emergency rescue personnel.
“Years ago we had our own dispatch, but we went to 9-1-1 when Ron England was sheriff,” Graybeal said. “If you need an officer in Washington County, you call 9-1-1.”
Requests for help, officers responding, and action taken at the scene and ordered for follow up are all documented and tracked by 9-1-1, according to Graybeal. “It’s an outside agency that helps us and lets the community know we’re doing what we’re supposed to do,” he said.
In addition, Graybeal said the WCSO responds to all alarms. “The only time we don’t respond is when 9-1-1 calls and says it was a mistake,” he said.
Another outside agency the WCSO works with is the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, which was called in following each of the five inmate deaths that occurred in the Detention Center during 2013.
“It was tragic for the families who lost loved ones,” Graybeal said. “On all of those incidents, we called in the TBI. The people who worked in the Detention Center (during those times) didn’t do anything wrong.”
Graybeal said he thinks calling in an outside agency to conduct an investigation into the circumstances is the action people would expect the WCSO to take. “They expect us to be above board,” he said.
Graybeal joined the WCSO in 1980 and said he’s never wanted to work anywhere else, referring to his colleagues as the “best of the best.”
“A lot of people think law enforcement is locking people up, but I think as an elected official, I have the opportunity to change a life,” he said. “If a life is changed, they don’t come back, and that makes me feel good.”
Other than saying claims made by Craig Ford during his candidacy announcement are without merit, Graybeal declined to comment on his opponent’s qualifications.