ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) — Even though the election is more than a year away, two candidates have announced bids for Carter County sheriff.
Retired sheriff’s office lieutenant Mike Fraley and Elizabethton City Councilman Kim Birchfield announced this week they will run for sheriff in 2022.
Fraley retired from the sheriff’s office in January 2020 after more than 30 years of service. He continues to teach at the Regional Law Enforcement Academy at Walters State Community College.
The retired lieutenant says he decided to run after receiving an outpouring of support from other community members.
“I feel that I can make positive changes in the agency, and I will give equal treatment to everyone if elected sheriff,” Fraley said in a statement. “My goal is to serve all citizens of Carter County. I have a 10 point plan to start from Day 1 if the citizens elect me to do so.”
He said he has had the honor of serving Carter County for more than 30 years and would like to continue serving his community.
Birchfield worked for the Elizabethton Police Department from 1978–1982 before going to the sheriff’s office where he advanced from deputy sheriff to lieutenant in criminal investigations. He spent 24 years with the Johnson City Police Department where he served in various roles.
After retiring from the JCPD in 2008, Birchfield was hired in 2011 as Gate City’s chief of police where he remained until 2014. He also worked for Bluff City’s police department from Sept. 2019 to Aug. 2020.
“I plan on using my background, experience, and training to further the Carter County Sheriff’s Department in order to improve the overall performance and to earn the respect of our employees and the citizens to whom we serve,” Birchfield said in a news release.
Incumbent Sheriff Dexter Lunceford says he plans to run for re-election. He has been in office since 2014.