SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Sheriff Jeff Cassidy of Sullivan County hosted another Community Coalition event in Piney flats to help narrow the gap between local law enforcement and the community they serve.
The meeting took place in the Piney Flats Fire Hall with Sheriff Cassidy speaking about local crime trends and promising programs, like a new six-week Citizen Academy designed to get residents of the county more familiar with how his office operates.
Alongside his own information, Cassidy encouraged the public to arrive with questions and concerns. The discussion serves to show him just what needs attention in the area, Cassidy said.
One topic in particular concerned attendees: drugs and drug trafficking.
Cassidy said his office hasn’t busted a local meth lab since 2016, and now finds most drugs arriving from neighboring states or Mexico. Cassidy also said the nature of drug offenses has changed police work, finding more resistance from prior offenders who are often found with firearms.
New programs and resources included new funding for mental health transportation, which frees up officers who previously needed to take those experiencing psychological episodes to care facilities themselves.
Cassidy also spoke about his excitement for a new addiction treatment and recovery clinic for the region, funded by the settlement of the Baby Doe opioid case.
The center would be built based on pooled resources awarded to several East Tennessee counties, and would serve to rehabilitate and restart the lives of those affected by opiates, opioids and illegal drugs.