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Standing committees meet

Posted 6/24/23

At Tuesday’s Law Enforcement Committee meeting, Deputy Chief Nikia Elliot reported that the jail currently has over 300 inmates, and that number keeps growing.

“We’ve been …

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Standing committees meet


At Tuesday’s Law Enforcement Committee meeting, Deputy Chief Nikia Elliot reported that the jail currently has over 300 inmates, and that number keeps growing.

“We’ve been busy…It is the summer, too,” said Elliot, citing they have also patrolled around 80,000 miles this month, whereas most months they patrol around 40,000.

Elliot also briefly updated the committee on the two drug overdoses that occurred in the jail last month.

“Some warrants have been signed in relation to that. As far as DTF’s (Drug Task Force’s) report, where they were talking about currently doing some investigations about some overdoses, those two are included in that. It’s not finished, but there have been some charges made,” said Elliot.

SRO funds

The Bedford County Sheriff's Office and the Shelbyville Police Department are now able to supplement their payroll for School Resource Officers with a $200 million grant approved by Governor Bill Lee. 

The grant allows for agencies and schools to apply for two different grants: the Statewide SRO Grant and the Public and Non-Public School Security Grant. 

The grants include significant funding to support a full-time, armed school resource officer (SRO) at every public school. It also allows for physical security improvements at public and non-public schools across the state. 

Although the grant cannot surpass $75,000 per school year, per school, local agencies are able to apply for the Statewide School Resource Officer Grant, which requires them to provide SRO services. 

Bedford County is planning to hire 10 SROs, however, Elliot said he does not anticipate filling those roles until the next school year begins as positions need filling across the state.

Applications are being accepted and reviewed by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security on a continual basis. Any agency within The Volunteer State can apply by going to https://www.tn.gov/safety/homeland-security/grants/sro.html

Public comment update

The Rules and Legislative Committee is updating its public comments policy per new state guidelines. The new policy will require a public comments section before every public meeting; this is in addition to the already mandated public hearings head ahead of rezonings.

A form would also be required to be filled out by the person requesting to speak. That person must also be from or living in Bedford County.

Commissioner Bill Anderson expressed he had an issue with citizens needing to fill out a form to speak, saying it was an intimidation.

“I hate to have citizens to fill out a form to come to talk to their representatives. There’s got to be a better way than that,” said Anderson. “I’m just afraid it will intimidate some folk…”

Graham countered Anderson’s statement by referencing how some activists often come to speak at public hearings.

“This is just public comment; it’s one-way communication. It’s not really a debate with the body. This is an opportunity for the public to make a statement…” said Graham.

The new policy reads:

“Pursuant to the State of Tennessee Public Chapters 213 and 300, effective July 1, 2023, a governing body shall, for each public meeting, reserve a period for public comment on matters that are germane to the items on the agenda for the meeting.

The local government will make available ‘no later than’ 48 hours prior to meetings the agenda on the county government website www.bedfordcountytn.gov as well as publish the agenda in the local newspaper when appropriate.

Items not included on the agenda at the time of the meeting will require the commission/committee to suspend the rules to add an item to the agenda per local rules sections Q and R.

Citizens of Bedford County wishing to address an item on the agenda will require to fill out a request form and present to the chairman of the appropriate commission/committee prior to calling the meeting to order. Forms will be available both on the county website as well as available hardcopy at the time of the meeting.

  1. Public comment will follow approval of the prior month’s commission/committee meeting minutes.
  2. Three speakers “in favor or not” of an item on the agenda will be allowed to address the commission/committee for three minutes during the meeting. If there are more than three wishing to speak on either side of the matter, the chairman will draw three names from the list of citizens who requested to speak.
  3. Meetings regarding personal or non-action items are not subject to these rules, per Public Chapter 300.”

This is essentially a draft of the new policy — for example, the 3-3-3 rule is just a suggestion. The commission will vote on this policy next month.