Tramel: ‘we’re driving crime out of area’

Officer Lee Tramel, chief of operations for Knox County Sheriff’s Office and a candidate for Sheriff, points to his role in helping make “a huge difference” toward lowering crime through KCSO Retail Crime Task Force in the Farragut area.

“We just finished up our sixth year of our organized Retail Crime Task Force we had,” said the Republican candidate, who recently spoke to members of Concord-Farragut Republican Club in KCSO West Precinct in Turkey Creek.

“We had some extraordinary numbers come out of that, things we’ve seen here in trends right here in Farragut,” he added. “This used to be a real hot spot right here in Turkey Creek for thefts, for broken windows, smash and grabs.”

However, “This year, we made 13 arrests out of here — 13 out of 450 [countywide arrests],” Tramel said. “We’re driving crime out of this area, suppressing the crime here. Our presence has made a huge difference here in your community. We see that now. We know it by our numbers. We’re hearing it from our retailers — our partners — that we work with in Farragut.”

The Sheriff’s Office also expanded its patrol zones, so Farragut now has its own zone.

“We’re doing a lot of great things at the Sheriff’s Office,” Tramel said. “We’re going to have more officers on the street than what we have now than we ever had in the history of the Sheriff’s Office. It’s amazing the work we are doing, and what’s more amazing is the support we get from our community.

“We can’t do this alone,” he added. “You don’t have to look far from us to see what it looks like when you have reactive policing, when they don’t do what they need to do to suppress the crime that’s in their areas. When you have reactive policing, you are not staying progressive. We don’t have that problem here.

“The outreach that we have done at the Sheriff’s Office in the last eight years has been remarkable.”

Tramel attributed a high rate of retail crime to the drug epidemic.

“We have lost more people to opioid overdoses than any other drug,” he said.

The Sheriff’s Office, other county agencies and legislators have been working to change the ways opioids are being prescribed, making it harder for people to get the drugs. However, Tramel warned, as people are having a harder time getting opioids they are moving on to heroin.

Valerie Whiting of Farragut asked about reports from one of the larger Farragut retail businesses. Tramel said that store is one of the retail partners with the Sheriff’s Office.

“[The store’s representatives] are very active in the loss prevention [measures],” he added. “This has been fabulous for the Sheriff’s Office.”

Knox County Republicans will choose their candidate for sheriff in less than three months: county primary voters go to the polls May 1.

A body discovered Monday afternoon, Feb. 5, in George’s Creek in Louisville has been identified as an aspiring minister and college student — who reportedly was last known to be at Admiral Farragut Park, near Pellissippi Parkway, Saturday, Feb. 3.

Blount County Sheriff James Berrong announced Monday, Feb. 5, that a body had been found one day after a car belonging to Blake Smith, 20, of Trussville, Alabama, was discovered crashed less than a mile away.

Dr. Clarence Sexton, founder and president of The Crown College in Powell where Smith was a junior, confirmed on Facebook Tuesday, Feb. 6, the body was in fact Smith.

Sexton said Smith “was an exemplary student