Farragut Mayor Ralph McGill clarified his remarks after stating ”the crime rate has been on the rise in Knox County” in a recent endorsement letter supporting Knox County Sheriff candidate Tom Spangler.
Lee Tramel, current Knox County Sheriff’s Office chief of administration, is Spangler’s Republican primary opponent whom Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones has openly supported.
Spokesperson Martha Dooley released a statement on behalf of Jones, Tramel and KCSO, which stated McGill’s crime remark “… is a lie. As a matter of fact, crime in Knox County is down and particularly in the Town of Farragut.”
Dooley referenced statistics from Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, which stated “Knox County has seen an approximate 5 percent decline in crime overall from 2015 to 2016.”
Tramel said crime is down “24 to 26 percent in the Town of Farragut, thanks to the new (KCSO) West Knox precinct.
“We have more (law enforcement) officers in that area than ever before, which has certainly made the citizens safer in the Town of Farragut,” he added.
Though saying he was appreciative of McGill’s support, Spangler said he “had no way of knowing” what crime statistics the Farragut mayor might have referenced.
Following the KCSO backlash, McGill released a statement through Town of Farragut:
“I apologize for any misunderstanding regarding my comments in endorsing Tom Spangler for Knox County Sheriff. Sheriff Jones and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office do an outstanding job protecting our community, and I appreciate the dedication of the men and women serving in law enforcement.”
Attempts to contact McGill via phone and e-mail were unsuccessful at deadline.