Children thrilled by county's first
Locker room cameras top School Board discussions
Dispatchers to be disciplined after stop
led to dog shooting
thrilled by county's first snow
Becky Meredith/OCN staff
Most children across the region were thrilled with
last week's snowfall. The snow wasn't enough to keep area residents
at home, but still enough to do a little sledding. Cameron Levi
Brown, of Alpine, couldn't get enough of the powdery stuff. Even
after four hours of sledding, he gazes out the window, wishing he
could be outside.
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room cameras top School Board discussions
By RACHEL SMITH, OCN staff
With rumors running rampant around the county about
security cameras in the locker rooms of Livingston Middle School,
Director of Schools Bill Needham assured School Board members during
the regular monthly meeting held Tuesday, Jan. 14 that the school
system is cooperating fully with local authorities investigating
Reading a statement he had previously released to
the press, Needham said, "After learning that two of the school
system security cameras at one of our schools might be picking up
a portion of an inappropriate area, immediate action was taken to
determine the facts.
"The two cameras were removed and the computer
system has been secured with the local police department."
He further stated that although the local authorities
would determine what, if any, criminal investigation is required,
the school system had procured the services of an outside agency
to conduct an internal investigation into the matter, independent
of the criminal investigation.
"I know everyone wants this matter settled as
soon as possible and we're doing everything we can to expedite it,”
School Board Chairman Jerry Glasscock indicated that
a work session would be held immediately following the School Board
meeting to address several issues, including further discussion
of the security camera matter.
With no executive action items to be addressed, Board
members approved the following new business items: Approved the
second reading of change to policy IDEA line 4 by replacing it with
the following: "School athletics shall be coached only by employees
of the Board of Education and volunteer assistants that have been
approved by the Director of Schools."
Approved Local Amendment #7 Safe and Drug Free 2002-01
Carry-Over Original Budget. Approved Local Amendment #8 Title I
2002-21 Carry-Over Original Budget.
Approved Local Amendment #9 Title II 2002-21 Carry-Over
Approved Special Education Class Size Policy.
Approved Julia Roberts letter of resignation, effective
Director of Schools Bill Needham issued the Director's
Report to the School Board. Actions taken by the school director
were as follows:
Hired Carla Gardner at Livingston Academy as an aide,
beginning January 6 and continuing until May 9.
Hired Dale Flatt at Alternative School, effective
January 6. Hired Pearl Masters as certified substitute teacher.
Hired the following as non-certified substitute teachers:
Heidi Camp, Tony Conner, Jennifer Hammons, Donna Maynord, Stacy
Brown, and Ginger Stephens.
Approved medical leave for Beatrice Nivens from January
6 until March 10.
Approved medical leave for Melanie Staggs from December
9, 2002, until Jan. 13, 2003.
Approved medical leave for Lonnie Ford.
Assigned Vickie Gwen Tayse to Wilson Elementary.
The meeting adjourned.
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to be disciplined after stop led to dog shooting
Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Mark V. Fagan is
recommending a written warning and crisis training for a THP dispatcher
who issued a communique that was sent to local law enforcement agencies
on January 1.
In a memorandum to Department of Safety Commissioner
Jerry W. Scott, Col. Fagan wrote that the notice was "the catalyst
that set forth the unfortunate chain of events that followed,"
and that the Tennessee Highway Patrol officers in Cookeville "acted
with probable cause in making a felony stop of the Smoak vehicle,
based on the information they received” from THP dispatchers.
Col. Fagan also found that the stop was conducted
within the guidelines set forth in the Tennessee Department of Safety
General Order 505, which addresses felony stops.
Mr. and Mrs. James Smoak and their son, Brandon, of
Saluda, NC, were pulled over on Interstate 40 in a felony stop on
New Year's Day. The three were detained and handcuffed, and a Cookeville
Police Department officer who was assisting THP with the traffic
stop shot their dog, Patton, after the animal ran out of the Smoak's
Communications Officer Shannon Pickard will receive
the warning for failing to comply with a written directive regarding
the use of non-recorded communicaiton devices in the radio room.
Much of the conversation between dispatchers in the Nashville and
Cookeville THP districts was conducted on a Nextel telephone/radio,
instead of a recorded radio or telephone line, a violation of a
written directive sent out to dispatchers in 2001.
In addition, Pickard and Cookeville THP dispatchers
Timothy Hood and Brian Brock have been ordered to attend Crisis
Management Training. THP Jackson District Dispatch Supervisor Joe
Kinman, who is highly trained in the area of Effective Communication,
administered to eight-hour course earlier this week.
Commissioner Scott said the decision to accept Col.
Fagan's recommendations is based on Operator Pickard's exemplary
service record. Pickard has been with the Department of Safety for
nine years, and has never had any disciplinary action taken against
Commissioner Scott said, "I have always maintained
that discipline serves no purpose unless it educates the violator.
In this case, Shannon has been educated."
Other actions and recommendations from Col. Fagan,
and accepted by Commissioner Scott, include the following:
Nextel telephone/radio communications have been prohibited
from use between dispatchers and field personnel in all THP Dispatch
The Training Division of the Tennessee Department
of Safety will use this incident in its curriculum for all cadets
and in-service training of all personnel.
Recommendation that General Order 505 be revised to
address the issue of animals that may be present in a vehicle during
a traffic/felony stop.
Recommendation that all dispatchers and commissioned
members of the Department receive remedial training in Effective
Communications to include both oral and written reports and documents.
Col. Fagan wrote, "I deeply regret the circumstances
that led members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol to conduct a felony
stop on the Smoak family, and the subsequent shooting of their family
pet by a member of the Cookeville Police Department. My sympathy
goes out to the Smoak family for the loss of their beloved pet,
"While we cannot change the course of events
that occurred on January 1, 2003, we can take measures to ensure
such an incident does not reoccur."
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Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570