BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. — A former Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office employee announced Wednesday that he’s running for sheriff as an independent.
Joe “Joey” Miller made his announcement on the steps of the Sullivan County Historic Courthouse Wednesday.
He joins three other candidates, including incumbent Republican Sheriff Wayne Anderson, Republican County Commissioner Ty Boomershine and Democrat John Taylor, in the race.
Miller is a lifelong Sullivan County resident who retired from the Sheriff’s Office in February after 28 years with the department. He was a major over the corrections division at the time of his retirement.
“When I returned from Vietnam, I knew what I wanted to do,” Miller said. “Since I was 17 years old, I wanted to be in law enforcement. I wanted to be a policeman.”
He said he decided to run as an independent because he considers himself a law enforcement professional and not a politician. Miller said people are tired of political parties and he believes he can get elected as an independent.
Miller said he wants to continue the school resource officer program and would increase the number of officers on the road and in the jail.
“I will, as sheriff, manage a budget and try to take care of the taxpayers’ money,” Miller said, adding, “[I want] to put more officers on the road and in the corrections division without adding money to the budget. That is very possible. Don’t let anybody tell you it’s not.”
Anderson sued the county last year for nearly $10 million, claiming that the department is underfunded and seeking more money for employees as well as equipment. The lawsuit was settled for a 2 percent pay raise for Sheriff’s Office employees.
If elected, he also plans to have an open-door policy and wants to improve training within the department.
“Training in law enforcement is key,” Miller said.
He added that he wants to be honest with the citizens and the employees of the Sheriff’s Office.
“Tell the truth always,” Miller said. “I think especially in a department it keeps morale up.”
He said he plans to run a positive campaign against his former boss.
“Me and Wayne Anderson, me and the sheriff, have been friends for many, many, many years,” Miller said. “And I want to stay friends. But there are so many different things I want to do, and I know I can do it. And I know they can be done.”
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