Message From Sheriff Berrong

We are continually seeking innovative ways to inspire our deputies to continue to uphold our mission of providing outstanding law enforcement, corrections, and criminal justice services through a partnership with the community that builds trust, reduces crime, creates a safe environment, and enhances the quality of life. We work hard to achieve these goals.

Nationwide, 2016 was not kind to law enforcement. With police ambushes on the rise across the country, and 140 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, our deputies remained vigilant as they worked their tours of duty. We watched from a distance as several officers were killed in Dallas and Baton Rouge in July, and many others killed in other parts of the country. On July 10, hundreds of citizens gathered at the Blount County Courthouse for a prayer vigil to honor the five Dallas police officers killed on July 7. It was an emotional experience for those who attended. We saw the community come together to support law enforcement, but in our minds, we were cautiously optimistic that Blount County was immune to the villainous acts being perpetrated on law enforcement across the country. That is, until Thursday, August 25, 2016. A quiet day turned deadly when Brian Keith Stalans opened fire on two officers assigned to the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force. The officers responded to Stalans' residence on Alcoa Trail to the call of a domestic situation. When they arrived, Stalans opened fire as the officers took cover behind their vehicle. One officer, Maryville Police Officer Kenny Moats, didn't survive the shooting. Officer Moats left behind a wife, three young children, a mother and father, and brothers and sisters. That day is burned into my mind forever. But out of darkness, we witnessed our community come together to serve and rally around us. We are so appreciative of all the support provided to Kenny's family as well as to our local law enforcement. We will never forget.

Our deputies continue to work tirelessly to keep our crime rate low. The bulk of our property crimes, such as thefts and burglaries, are driven by individuals who abuse drugs. Our Patrol and Investigative functions do an excellent job with fighting crime in our country, but the prescription and opioid drug abuse epidemic this country is currently experiencing has spilled into our county. With the help and funds provided to us through the HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) designation we received from the White House in early 2016, we can continue to combat the drug problem in our area through additional manpower, intelligence and information sharing initiatives, training, and drug use prevention and treatment initiatives.

As we look to the future, we see only good things for Blount County. Our community continues to grow and evolve, but because of the intelligent and innovative ideas of our deputies, and the volunteer spirit of our citizens, we are committed to keeping this community safe. Thank you for allowing me to continue my service to you.

Sheriff Signature
Sheriff James L. Berrong