Chief deputy, Washington County sheriff candidate Laitinen resigns — still seeks appointment

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JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL) – Washington County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy has resigned, but she is still seeking Monday night’s Washington County Commission appointment to fill the remainder of retired Sheriff Ed Graybeal’s term.

Laitinen, who Graybeal named as his preference to fulfill the final year of his term when he retired in September, submitted her resignation letter Sunday. The resignation was effective immediately.

She wrote that her letter “should have no bearing whatsoever” on the commission’s selection.

Commissioners are set to appoint a new sheriff Monday from among Laitinen, Johnson City Police Department Lieutenant Keith Sexton and retired U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency employee Michael Templeton.

“Should I be appointed tomorrow night, I will be extremely honored and more than willing to serve in that capacity,” Laitinen wrote.

She did not provide a reason for her resignation in the short letter, which News Channel 11 obtained after submitting a public records request.

Laitinen referenced her 20-plus year career serving the county and wrote that WCSO employees “are well-trained professionals and make this department an organization of which to be proud.”

She wrote that her changed employment status “should in no way be a factor into the individual commissioner’s votes. Just as the fact that my opponents are not currently or have never been employed by the Sheriff’s office and are still being considered.”

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