Less than five days prior to the Commission meeting, there were 2 conflicting letters from the Peace Officers Standard Training (POST) Commission on the commissioners desks at the January 2011 meeting.  One letter, from Brian Grisham, Executive Secretary of POST, stated that the Director of Homeland Security, Mr. Stinnett, has to be commissioned by the Sheriff to remain POST certified. The other letter from John Welsh, Chief Investigator of POST, stated that the salary transfer is a moot issue and that Director Stinnett can keep his POST certification by completing an annual 40-hour in-service training.

Commissioner Caylor was ready to address the conflict by asking Lt. Rick Baker of the Blount Co. Sheriff’s Department to come forward to help clarify the issues and establish his credentials, while also stating that “Lt. Baker is not on trial here.  He’s here to answer questions and I would personally appreciate it, if he was treated with the respect that he is due.”  This implies disrespectful behavior from the citizens or commissioners, but no one in the audience addressed Lt. Baker.

Lt. Baker stated that he is a General Departmental Instructor and the President of the Tennessee Training Officer Association.  Lt. Baker read Grisham’s letter verbatim and stated “[Stinnett] was commissioned when he went through the academy, but once he went from being under a Direction of his City Chief, then he lost his commission.  His commission is about ready to run out.”  The contradiction is glaring.  How can his commission be ready to run out, when he’d lost it after quitting his job with the Pigeon Forge Police Dept. and is not currently under the supervision of the Blount Co. Sheriff?

Commissioner Peggy Lambert urged swift commission action and faith in Lt. Baker by affirming, “Mr. Chairman, we’ve got an expert standing right here in front of us.  If there’s any question or any confusion, let’s let him clarify it and move on with this.”  Seeking information from the “expert”, Lambert asked Lt. Baker, “This Homeland Security money grants that come in, does that go to the Sheriff’s Department and then is allocated to the Homeland Security representative on a local level?”

“I’m going to have to totally let them answer that, as far as them,” Baker said, as he pointed to the back of the room where Director Stinnett and others were standing.  Clearly, Lt. Baker’s expertise was limited to reading a letter from Mr. Grisham at the POST Commission.

This matter was sent to the Mayor’s attorney to ferret out.  The only experts at the January meeting were those who are experts at showing how little they know and are how unwilling they are to research matters on their own.

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