Assistant Chief Wonders Why Constable Pulled Him Over

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Last Thursday I was driving down Burt Burgen Road when I noticed a gold colored car behind me. This car was right on my bumper so I sped up to put some distance between us but as I sped up so did he.

Not knowing what he wanted I sped up even faster. Just as I thought I finally got some distance between us he was right behind me again, on my bumper while I was doing 70+ MPH, except this time he turned his blue lights on, no siren, just the blue light on his dashboard.

Being an officer of the Mooretown VFD I knew something was not right as all emergency personnel are trained on running emergency traffic and he should have known that he would need to run his siren along with his lights. Regardless, I pulled over.

Looking into my rearview mirror I noticed he was taking a picture of the back of my vehicle which has emergency plates, lights and siren and is completely compliant with state laws.

The driver of the gold car approached me and said “Mr. George, I just want to let you know that I have the power of the law behind me.” Not sure what he was talking about I congratulated him on that achievement. He did not ask for my driver’s license or proof of insurance.

The problem here is I am not “Mr. George.” I am Jesse Laxton, Assistant Chief, Mooretown VFD.  I can only assume that he thought I was Mr. Micheal George, Chief, Mooretown VFD.

It turns out that the person who pulled me over is a constable here in Cannon County. I am curious as to why he pulled me over and if in fact he has the ability to do so. I am also curious, if he was initiating an official traffic stop, why didn’t he run my plates and know I wasn’t who he thought I was?

I am hoping our county commissioners can shed some light on the roles and responsibilities of the constables and if in fact he was within his means to pull me over.

Thank you,


Assistant Chief

Mooretown VFD

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November 14, 2011 at 3:48pm
There is only ONE constable that we all know would do something like this. Jesse, you are an upstanding citizen in Cannon County, we have known you for years, you appreciate the law and the ones who abide by it and not enough good things could be said for you being Assistant Chief in Mooretown where our family resides also. First of all it was a gold car and not an emergency vehicle, no siren with just lights, if that was one of my daughters I would HOPE that on a back road, none of our children would have stopped and more than likely any woman would have been frightened to death!!! We are hoping this gets resolved and it is reported here in the paper WHY this happened and we respect that you did not relinquish WHO did this but hopefully the Cannon Courier will let all of us as citizens know. Many of us have children driving now, 16 years and up and we have told our children to NEVER stop unless they are on a main road lit up! Jesse , we appreciate you letting ALL of us know what happened to you and that you knew it was not right and are letting all of us know what is going on with these constables. They need to have what powers they have removed. If that is impossible, then this person needs to have his removed because he is not abiding by the law!!! Why would they take a picture of your vehicle, your tags and then assume that you were Mr. George! The thing is you STILL don’t know WHY he pulled you over and all of us should be concerned WHY he pulled you over . I’m sure he NEVER expected you to write this letter or this be printed....we need to speak out as parents regarding what happened to you so it doesn’t happen to us!
November 14, 2011 at 3:56pm
I have to admit --- I did believe the driver of the official looking Red SUV I stopped was Michael George. I’m not sure why but it was my error and my apologies go out to Mr. George for thinking that he would have put so many lives in danger.

However, Mr. Laxton, your error was driving between 75 and 80 mph in a 45 mile per hour zone plus passing a vehicle in a no passing zone at a high rate of speed. That is why you were stopped and I cannot believe you are complaining about not getting a ticket.

While I did mistake you for “Mr. George”, you didn’t bother to correct my mistake. You drove away letting be believe that your fire chief was driving unlawfully and dangerously in my district. If I were Michael George, we would sit down and talk about that.

While I do have a radio, the ability to communicate with the 911 center from the location that I stopped you is impossible. So yes, if I had run your plates, I would have properly identified you, but I couldn’t. Nor could I write you a ticket, because I don’t have anything to write one on! So, I didn’t have much choice but to let you go.

I was satisfied that I did my duty and had stopped a dangerous situation. Obviously, you have no appreciation that I may have actually prevented you from hurting yourself or even saved your life. Not only did you endanger yourself at the speeds that you were driving, but the occupants of the vehicle that you improperly passed. You endangered my neighbors on Burt Burgen that elected me and you actually put me in danger when you violated the law in front of me forcing me to act. I have taken an oath to uphold the law and regardless of your sad story of trying to escape the strange gold car, you have acknowledged your identity and admitted breaking the law in your letter to the editor.

The county commission has discussed the law enforcement authority of constables all year. Maybe if you have a new question of them ---- it should be along the lines of: Why do they let assistant fire chiefs (driving official looking vehicles with emergency license plates) drive at reckless speeds creating a liability hazard for the tax payers of the county? Ask that question for me please. --- Or, should we just assume that as an “officer in the Mooretown VFD” that you believe you are above the law???

Your perception of what occurred seems a little skewed to me. I actually said, “Mr. George, I guess you know that you are driving way too fast?” You responded with, “Yah a little” But if you have forgotten and seriously have no idea why I stopped you, then maybe we could sit down with the D.A., a Judicial Commissioner or Judge Melton herself and refresh your memory. I’m sure Cannon County could use the revenue from the conviction.

Jim Gibbs, P.O.S.T. Instructor
Cannon County Constable
November 14, 2011 at 4:14pm
When this matter was brought before us, as commissioners, I researched the powers and regulations on Tennessee constables. In order to use their law enforcement powers, the constable MUST have a detailed constable car fully equipped with striping, lights, & sirens. He must also be wearing a regulation constable uniform and identification badge. Initiating a stop in a personal vehicle is unlawful. A constable without the above-mentioned requirements can not attempt a stop.
November 14, 2011 at 5:02pm
Constables are a joke.
November 14, 2011 at 5:08pm
Thank you tntneal. The gold car is JIM GIBBS and what a LAME excuse he didn’t have paper to write a ticket, then why should he stop someone. Is he carrying a gun when he does this with no siren, no uniform threatening people that he has law enforcement powers, is his car striped? Mr. Laxton admitted going 70 speeding up to get away from whoever was behind him and thought the person was done getting on his bumper and then they did it again. Mr. Laxton revealed who he was because he is an honest upstanding citizen in our community. Did Mr. Gibbs have the regulation uniform on and identification badge? If not why is he allowed to do this? This is his personal vehicle that he drives all the time everywhere... If it was my daughters or sons as I stated above, I would HOPE they would try to get away from them also not knowing on a back dark road who is following them bumper to bumper, you try to get away, speed up to not have an altercation and they THEN put on lights? Mr. Laxton did the right thing and more so reporting what Jim Gibbs did. Mr. Laxton PLAINLY stated that this gold car was on his bumper and so he sped up. It did it again and he sped up again. WHY didn’t Mr. Gibbs stop him then, put lights on, where is his siren? The question is, did Mr. Jim Gibbs EVER call 911 Or Darrell Young and report what he did? Our police officers are required to call into dispatch and advise. What if this person had a gun and shot Mr. Gibbs, how would anyone have known because before stopping the individiual he never called in and stated he was going to do so and did he EVER report that he stopped someone, used his lights, when he got within 911 signals, has he called and ran the tag in the last five days to make sure he was correct, did he EVER advise what he did? In between the time that JIM GIBBS stopped Jesse Laxton and supposedly Mr. Laxton never revealed his true name ( I wouldn’t, would you, if a gold car with blue lights that anyone can put on their car and no uniform on stopped me and talked to me like they knew I was Mr. George?), how many people has Jim Gibbs already told that he stopped Chief GEORGE and told them the same story above but used Mr. George’s upstanding name??? It is despicable that he would accuse someone who regularly saves lives of trying to take them. Sad to say days have passed before Mr. Gibbs realized he didn’t stop Mr. George and has defamed his name incredibly with the above story being told. How many people did he tell he stopped Chief George and that Chief George was putting people’s lives in danger. We as citizens live in Mooretown also and donate to the Fire Department, have had Mr. George and Mr. Laxton on calls on our road and many others , not saying they are above and beyond speeding, we all do it, but to accuse either of them of TRYING to take lives is utterly ridiculous. The questions still remain, was Mr. Gibbs allowed to use these powers as a constable if he didn’t have a siren on, did he call 911 EVER and is this his personal vehicle? Something should be done and our apologies go out to Mr. George and Jesse Laxton and hopefully Mr. Laxton will answer the questions about the uniform and the personal car and stripes and Mr. Gibbs will answer if he EVER reported what he did to anyone in authority.
November 14, 2011 at 6:07pm
Mr. Jim Gibbs you are an exact reason why this county does not need constables.

Lets start with TCA codes:
T.C.A. Code 55-9-414. Blue flashing emergency lights on motor vehicles unlawful Exception Penalty.
The prohibition in subsection (a) does not apply to the motor vehicles of constables who are wearing law enforcement uniforms designated by the governing body of the county in which they serve in those counties in which the constables retain law enforcement powers and duties under the provisions of.

According to another STATE level law:
Your vehicle MUST have a SIREN to run lights in your vehicle.
Your vehicle must also have lighting 360 degrees around.

YOU ARE NOT A UNIFORMED LAW OFFICER, YOU ARE A CONSTABLE... NOTHING MORE. And if this county pays you "officers", then they should stop and get real police.

Our constables are jokes.
November 14, 2011 at 6:59pm
OOOH-- someone told on themselves!! 70+ miles per hour on a country road. Oh people like that who drive like that for any reason should have a big ol' fine slapped on them. Don't know any parties involved but for an asst. chief to speed like that around people's homes has no excuse!!
November 14, 2011 at 7:20pm
I guess I've read too many police reports and watched too many real-life crime shows. If someone is stalking me in their car at night and I have no idea what's going on, I think I'd speed up to try and get away too.
November 14, 2011 at 8:32pm
Sounds like Barney Fife is alive and well in Cannon County!!!
November 14, 2011 at 8:57pm
Enough!!!! Frankly I am tired of the false light being cast upon this issue. You must be responsible for your words. Most importantly it is frightening that some of you suggest that your daughters and sons speed away from law enforcement officers.

Firstly you don’t seem to understand the law – Constables ARE NOT REQUIRED to mark their vehicles! There are words in law that allow options and permit deviation. If you don’t understand the law, ask an attorney before you make some accusation that may come back at you in court.

Secondly, if for any reason you are uncomfortable with an unmarked (undercover car) attempting to stop you --- DO NOT SPEED – Drive to a safe location and if you have a cell phone call 911 and explain your situation. If the 911 operator can not verify that it is a law enforcement officer attempting to stop you, ask that a mark car intercept you and join the traffic stop.

Thirdly -- Look around -- The sheriff and chief of police both drive unmarked vehicles and there are others in Cannon County (investigators, dog handlers) with dash and grill lights. Like it or not, constables are also law enforcement officers who are allowed unmarked cars by state law.

It is unlawful and a FELONY for any person, while operating a motor vehicle on any street, road, alley or highway in this state, to intentionally flee or attempt to elude any law enforcement officer, after having received any signal from the officer to bring the vehicle to a stop. DO NOT ENCOURAGE ANYBODY TO FLEE.

Last but not least, if you don’t want stopped by a constable, don’t violate the law. And if you do get caught by a constable, try something other than the spooky gold car stalking me as a reason for speeding ----
November 14, 2011 at 9:55pm
If what Mr. Gibbs did wasn’t against the law, your next article of Sheriff Young investigating it would not even be a question. They have had numerous calls regarding this person and finally he is going to be stopped. No Kevin, you haven’t read to many crime shows. You are right, no matter who it is a male or female, fire chief or young teenager, no one needs to be stalking and following people and then throwing on those blue lights. Anyone can buy them and put them in their car. This person likes to throw around authority that he doesn’t have and is forcing others to allow him to have and needs to be stopped. Citizens of Cannon County know that Darrell Young will stop it and take care of him doing this and harassing many more people than we are aware of. Jesse Laxton just had the guts to print it, make us aware of it and that quick Darrell Young is doing something about it. The question is what if Jesse Laxton DID NOT stop and kept on going and went 70 miles an hour and out ran this strange vehicle, would Jim Gibbs shot at him? Chased Him? What would he have done????? Do any of us know?
November 15, 2011 at 9:54am
While Mr. Gibbs is looking out for our public safety, what about the school zone at Woodland? That is in your district is it not? How many vehicles travel through there when the kids are being dropped off and picked up? How many of them are speeding through a 15 mile an hour school zone? Where are you at these times?

If you are so worried about public safety you need to be out there to slow down the dump trucks and others driving 55 - 60 mph through the school zone at the times it is 15 mph. To be honest this is the first time I have known of Mr. Gibbs even being in the area "patrolling". I live off of Red Hill Road and the amount of vandalism done in the area in the past few years is ridiculous. Teenagers on their 4 wheelers late at night doing donuts in my driveway and at the end of Bull Pen Creek, public signs stolen or destroyed, mailboxes busted up and so much more.

As for your comment of not encouraging anyone to flee. If I was in the same situation I would not have stopped. Why? You have no markings on your car. You show me were your car is an authorized vehicle to do so and I might consider it. It is not unheard of for dangerous people to use their vehicle to make someone believe that they are who they aren't in order to get close to them to do harm. You as a public officer should not this just as much as anyone else. To have done this correctly you should have noted the vehicle and license plate number and then called it in to the proper authorities rather than speed up yourself. By the reported comments you committed traffic violations just as well. Tailgating, speeding (before you put on your lights, and improper procedure.

You should also know that if you talk with any properly trained officer he will say that in the procedure of being stopped, you do so in a manner that makes you feel safe. So yes if I was being stopped by a gold car that I did not know, and never seen I would keep driving until I felt I was safe or even called 911 in order to report a suspicious vehicle trying to pull me over. I know this because I have family who have been in law enforcement and this is what I have been taught. That's for my safety, something you seem to have forgotten in this matter.
November 15, 2011 at 10:17am
TCA Code 8-10-120 covers blue lights and proper markings for constables.

8-10-120. Constable patrol cars.

(a) Constable patrol cars may be white with a brown stripe running horizontally along the upper side. This color scheme shall not be used by any other state or local law enforcement official or agency; provided, that any state or local law enforcement official or agency that is using such color scheme on March 29, 1996, may continue to use such color scheme. When adopted for use by a county constable, the stripe design and other emblems and lettering shall conform to the official uniform markings adopted by the Tennessee Constable Association or the Tennessee Constable Council on file with the director.

(b) Constable patrol cars which conform to the description in subsection (a), which are being operated as provided in § 55-9-414, and which are used as emergency vehicles, may be equipped with blue lights and/or red lights and sirens.

(c) Nothing in this section shall prohibit a county constable from operating unmarked cars for other law enforcement purposes.

(d) Any constable operating a patrol car and using the lights described in this section must have graduated from the last calendar date in-service sponsored by the Tennessee Constable Association or the Tennessee Constable Council.

(e) Each constable shall be responsible for all costs in marking patrol cars.

(f) The provisions of this section shall not apply in any county which has removed from constables any law enforcement powers.

(g) This section does not apply in counties having a population of not less than fourteen thousand six hundred fifty (14,650) nor more than fifteen thousand (15,000), according to the 1990 federal census or any subsequent federal census.
November 15, 2011 at 11:03am
Mr. Jim Gibbs I suggest you read the article about Mr. Young investigating this... Oh and I quote a few primary points in that article if you do not wish to read the whole thing being that you are Mr. "Police Officer" being busy "protecting" people.

Point 1) “I have not and will not authorize anyone to run blue lights other than full-time, salaried employees,” the sheriff said. "Anyone not authorized to do so will be prosecuted."

Point 2)"The prohibition does not apply to the motor vehicles of constables who are wearing law enforcement uniforms designed by the governing body of the county in which they serve." Notice: WEARING LAW ENFORCEMENT UNIFORMS

Point 3)"Also today, the Cannon County Emergency Communications District (E-911) said it is not authorized to dispatch calls to constables and has not established call numbers for them." So if what I am reading is correct you are not allowed to make radio transmissions to dispatch and they can not dispatch calls to you.

I am glad the commission voted to remove law enforcement powers because it went to your head.

You had no approval to run blue lights.

This might sound bad but I do hope you get charged with impersonating a police officer as the article on the courier pointed out because you were not authorized by our sheriff to run those lights.
November 15, 2011 at 11:04am
woodbury=mayberry In this case
November 15, 2011 at 11:34am
Oh and may I ask if Mr. Gibbs has EVOC and VFK certification. If the answer to that is no then he broke yet another law. Jesse along with Micheal both have EVOC and VFK certification.

And another thing Mr. Gibbs, you pointed out that you suggest Micheal take to consideration this incident of "speeding".

Even if he was speeding, to get away from a guy up on his bumper(reckless endangerment), he was not acting in an emergency, therefore he can not have powers stripped from him.
November 15, 2011 at 5:23pm
well, expressed, I agree with efisk, I am glad you said all of this, my feelings, exactly.
November 15, 2011 at 5:30pm
Absolutely no way would I pull over for this "wanna be"!I have just sat my sondownand explained to him this situation and what to do if he finds himself a part of this catastrophy. Mr. Gibbs is clearly distorting the story. I have a word of advice to him...he may find himself in a situation that is not safe. I am a legal carrier of a handgun and am armed at all times to protect myself. He may find someone that is not legal to carry and much quicker to pull the trigger...for his own safety he should be more careful. And for heavens sake, someone do something to get this nut out of this uniform and out of this position before something worse happens!
November 15, 2011 at 8:12pm
Just to point out for any further situations similar to this one.......if you are unsure of the car that is attempting to pull you over, you can slow down to a speed of 30mph, turn on your caution lights and drive to a location that you feel is safe.I do not know if you have to contact dispatch or not, i probably would just so they could inform the officer or whoever of the situation and the reason for you not pulling over. I do not know the laws for which a constable must follow but this is just for anyone who didn't know that you do not have to pull over if you are unsure of who is behind you.
November 15, 2011 at 9:19pm
everyone seems to be quick to judge the constables, but why? If one person does make a mistake do you judge everybody else by that. the sheriff says he doesnot want them, but why not. they are trained every year and are sworn to uphold the law, the same as a police officer, they are not saying they are policemen, but constables, they were voted by the people of their community, and want to help keep cannon county a safe place for everyone family. if it is such a big deal why can the sheriff's dept work with them and use their free services(as other counties do). He wants more money to hire more deputies from the taxpayers, but why when you have trained peace officers that can do the same thing without cost to us. why is there so much underlying hatred for one man? If a constable does do wrong, why punish all of them, we don't fire the whole poice dept when an officer commits a crime(and it does happen). Constables want and are willing to work with the police to serve the county, but because of power and politics they(constables) are unwanted in this county. they are traine just like volunteer firefighters and first responders, whom we pull over for when they zoom past us on their way to a fire. I have heard that firefighters have caused accidents but we didn't get rid of the whole department because of it. constables could be used to help with traffic control especially at school zones, check on housebound people, drive the neighborhoods who have had burgulary problems and at no charge to the county. Constables just want to help serve the community they were elected to and the citizens and uphold the law as they were sworn to do.
November 15, 2011 at 10:34pm
Is it too much to ask that we not resort to name calling? People have feelings and they have family members who read the site.

If you agree or disagree with constables or specifically Jim Gibbs is your choice, but to hide behind a pen name and call someone names is not only on the verge of being a bully, it is also cowardly in my opinion.

Would you allow your child to do what you are doing? If you can say yes to that question then I wonder about your parenting abilities. If you say no to that question then you should stop it yourself.

I would hope that the people in this county can be above such petty 3rd grade tactics.

Agree or disagree with what you think the law says about blue lights, constable powers, investigations, someone openly admitting they were breaking the law going 70 mph, or whatever but calling people a "nut" or labeling Woodbury as "Mayberry" does nothing but show what type of person you truly are.
November 16, 2011 at 12:46am
Let me just ask a question what if when that assistant cheif was speeding on that back road he hit someones child, because he was doing 70+ mph????? PLEASE, just think about that for example. I believe everyone should be THANKFUL for Mr. Gibbs. So, Mr. Gibbs THANK YOU! You prob saved A FEW LIVES THAT NIGHT!! Not everyone is being grown adults about this.. They really need to look at the reality of this story.
November 16, 2011 at 4:46am
sharond, I have received several reasons as to why the sheriff, police chief and the local judicial system do not want to utilize the services of constables:

1) Cannon County constables are not POST-certified by the State of Tennessee. Their officers are.

2) The constables do not work for them, and therefore are not answerable to them.

3) They do not want to be responsible for the actions of constables. If the sheriff, police chief or a court official assigns a constable a task or gives them a directive, they are legally liable for anything constables do while carrying out that mission.
November 16, 2011 at 6:35am
And the reason I am making a big deal out of this is because he was never authorized to use those lights and that is a violation of T.C.A codes as well as not having the properly marked constable car and not have lighting completely 360. He therefore broke at least three laws without including those laws he broke to make the illegal stop.

So in conclusion, I find Mr. Gibbs to be more of Mr. "Police Officer", because he thinks, "Hey I am a constable lets pull over random people and endanger my own life". He was in the wrong to make the traffic stop. I hope the DA gets right with him and the constables have their powers stripped away before next voting period for them, even though I believe all of them were running unopposed.....waste of a ballot
November 16, 2011 at 9:35pm
has anyone noticed that mr. gibbs has contradicted himself in his last statement. he stated "Secondly, if for any reason you are uncomfortable with an unmarked (undercover car) attempting to stop you --- DO NOT SPEED – Drive to a safe location and if you have a cell phone call 911 and explain your situation. If the 911 operator can not verify that it is a law enforcement officer attempting to stop you, ask that a mark car intercept you and join the traffic stop." and then goes on to say "It is unlawful and a FELONY for any person, while operating a motor vehicle on any street, road, alley or highway in this state, to intentionally flee or attempt to elude any law enforcement officer, after having received any signal from the officer to bring the vehicle to a stop. DO NOT ENCOURAGE ANYBODY TO FLEE.
technicaly if it is an unmarked car like mr. gibbs drives and you dont stop it is evading BUT he stated not to if you feel uncomfortable AND the fact that he stated on channel 4 that he has no contact to dispatch. so if he did attempt to stop you and you were on the phone to dispatch, they would not be aware of the stop.
i find this disturbing. i hope other do as well.

November 17, 2011 at 7:10am
My points exactly superman
November 17, 2011 at 9:34am

Cannon County sheriff upset over constables' powers
Posted: Nov 15, 2011 7:01 PM CST
Updated: Nov 15, 2011 7:07 PM CST
Reported by Caroline Moses -
A man with a badge had his cell phone camera rolling as he chased after a speeding car going more than 80 miles an hour. But it's what happened next that has the sheriff upset.

The man who made that video works as a constable in Cannon County. That means he has no power to arrest anyone or write a ticket.

When he flipped on the blue police lights in his car and stopped the other driver, he sparked a controversy.

Constable Jim Gibbs says despite the sheriff's concerns, he plans to continue making stops even though he can't make arrests or issue tickets.

Sheriff Darrell Young wants him to stop all of it.

Gibbs says he uses the blue lights inside his car to help enforce the law, because he is an elected law enforcement official.

"If you don't want to be stopped by constables, don't violate the law," he said.

But Sheriff Young says Gibbs and his fellow constables should not be using blue lights to pull people over. He calls the behavior "reckless" and questions the need for constables at all.

"Once I get through with my investigations I'm going to the district attorney with the deal, and whatever he says do that's what we're going to do," Young said.

Last Thursday, Gibbs used his blue lights to stop someone from speeding. He says he decided to record the chase on his cell phone for evidence, because he was pursuing someone from the fire department.

In fact, it was the county's assistant volunteer fire chief. Gibbs' cell phone video shows his own speedometer reaching 80 mph at some points during the pursuit.

"It was very dangerous," Gibbs said.

Gibbs follows as the assistant chief crosses a double-yellow line to pass a car. Soon after, Gibbs flipped on his blue lights to stop the driver.

"We're not issued ticket books. I don't have a ticket book. I can't contact dispatch center. There's absolutely nothing I can do," Gibbs said.

Because constables cannot issue tickets, Gibbs let the driver go almost immediately.

Gibbs says it's still worth it to stop speeders and at least make them slow down for a second.

Tennessee's codes are not clear as to how much authority constables have when it comes to using blue lights and engaging in pursuits.

In three years, when the current Cannon County commissioners' terms are up, their law enforcement powers will be stripped completely.

Sheriff Young says he would like to see it happen sooner.

Copyright WSMV 2011. All rights reserved.

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2 days ago-3
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i watch channel 4 everyday but when you reported you made it sound like no constables have rights to arrest or write tickets i am a constable that have those rights in my county and you are putting all constables in a dangerous position. what so bad about a constable that goes through 40 hours of training each year bought my own marked patrol car and i and other constables do not cost not 1 cent of or states taxes please reply so the professional constables can share how this office is still needed in our community's before maybe not on purpose destroys this office in Tennessee thanks you
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The Constable's in Warren County have full law enforcement powers, We write tickets make arrest anything any other law officer can do. We have a great working relationship with our Sheriff and Police department. We answer calls with other officers and when the sheriff's department is short handed we help out by answering calls. We would like for you to come to Warren county and talk to us or our Sheriff or Chief of Police. You can't judge all Constable's by the actions of one idiot.
November 17, 2011 at 6:29pm
Out of curiosity, I wonder why the constables are not sitting in every school zone directing traffic? Or, why do they not escort funerals to the cemetary? In my opinion, it seems to be a more fitting "job" for constables to be doing rather than out playing cops and robbers on country back roads with no street lights. Biggest question I have for Mr Gibbs is when you pull someone over and start demanding their keys when they don't have a clue as to who you are because you have not identified yourself nor have uniform nor markings on your car(personal experience)and that person causes you bodily harm "protecting" themselves or when someone wrecks while you are "pursuing" them, who is the person that will be held responsible? As a taxpayer of this county, I most certainly do not want the responsibility of paying for the law suit that's sure to follow.

November 18, 2011 at 12:16am
How about somebody get out there and direct traffic by the high school! The traffic is ridiculous by the bridge expansion. The sheriffs dept does it sporadically. There is something for the constable to do!!
November 18, 2011 at 1:07am
This is really scary. I drive that road almost every day and so does my family. I think they both should be charged. They BOTH broke the law and someone could have been hurt badly or even killed that day.
November 18, 2011 at 8:51am
jabat1966: To answer your question on why they are not helping in the school zones and other areas of public need, is because when they were asked to do something by the Sheriff the two people that seem to do all the speaking for the constables told him no, and this was on more than one occasion, one of them being to watch the inmates at the convenience center. This was reported in a past article here on the Courier, and Sheriff Young will tell you the same.

Constables are elected to serve the public, I feel that by refusing a request or even not performing their duties as outlined is a violation of their elected duty. There was a reason that our commissioners voted to strip the constable of their powers and I feel that in our public safety it was done with proper judgement. There are things going on behind the scenes that we do not know of, and the commissioners acted upon knowing that.

I also feel that for Mr. Gibbs to take this to Channel 4 was taking things a bit to far, and has shown how misused this office is. He has also given our commissioners another reason to back why they voted to strip their powers.

My question to you Mr. Gibbs: We already know that you assumed this to be someone that it turned out not to be, so what if this person had not been the Assistant Chief? What if this person had been running a meth-lab out of the back of the car? What if this person had a gun? You jeopardized yourself as much as public safety by doing what you did. There are people who say Jesse did wrong in speeding up, maybe so, but in my opinion Jim Gibbs used bad judgement in this too. Why continue to chase someone at high speeds on a dangerous road? How would you have defended yourself? Do you know how to properly handle a meth-lab? Were is your certification to do this job? More questions than answers are left in this matter.
November 18, 2011 at 9:37am
November 18, 2011 at 11:01am
I understand not knowing who is on your bumper and trying to speed up some. However, the man was obviously speeding to begin with for Mr.Gibbs to start following him. So he was in the wrong to begin with.
Mr.Gibbs I don't understand why you didn't call the police since you knew that if you stopped him you would not be able to write him a ticket or anything. Mr. Gibbs you also put many lives in jeopardy that day by chasing him. That I can't understand. Before I didn't see a problem with constables in Cannon County. Now I see it clearly. As I said in my previous comment..both broke the law and I really hope both of you are charged.
November 18, 2011 at 12:35pm
TnT - Actually he was not speeding. Mr. Gibbs was following him because he thought he was someone else. Only when he was right behind Jesse did he try to put some distance between them. If Mr. Gibbs had put his blue lights on 4 miles earlier I'm sure Jesse WOULD have stopped but Mr. Gibbs would not have have any video. Also not mentioned is the fact that Mr. Gibbs waited until he was in front of his own home before turning his lights on. Maybe he was trying to impress the Mrs. with all of his "powers of the law".
November 18, 2011 at 4:48pm
I don’t even live in Cannon County, have never met the parties involved, and am just a third party observer, but this situation leads me to ask some questions. I do have a number of years’ experience in law enforcement, and I am, as Mr. Gibbs says he is, a POST Commission Police Instructor.

First of all, how did the Constable determine the motorist’s initial speed? Was it a radar gun? Was it LIDAR? If so, had the equipment been recently calibrated? Was the Constable certified in its use, and had he completed periodic recertification requirements? Since he mentions sitting down with the Judge and the D.A., these questions may come up.

Is the Constable familiar with even the most fundamental Officer Safety concepts? To initiate a traffic stop on a vehicle where the operator is clearly not known to him, and to do so with no backup and out of radio communications range could be hazardous to his health. Further, after making the stop, he had no means of running license plates and driver’s license information to determine who he had indeed stopped, if their driver’s license was valid, or even if they were wanted.

What did the Constable hope to gain by this traffic stop? He admits he has no citation book. Suppose the driver had been clearly intoxicated? Or gravely ill? What was the next step for the Constable?

What is the Constable’s pursuit policy? Is there one? Has it been cleared by an attorney or CTAS? When the motorist speeds up to 70 mph and the Constable does the same with activated emergency equipment (blue lights) that then constitutes a pursuit. Nearly all progressive law enforcement agencies now discourage or outright prohibit vehicle pursuits at the speeds mentioned except for the most dangerous and violent suspects or known felons. The Constable does not mention that he had such information regarding this pursuit.

Finally, has the Constable completed his required annual Vanessa K. Free training? If so, he would know that activated emergency equipment (blue lights) must be accompanied by an audible device (siren) in the state of Tennessee.

Again, no horse in this race and no axe to grind…….just an outsider looking in.
November 18, 2011 at 5:15pm
I will answer one of those questions. Constable Gibbs is not POST certified in Tennessee. That is a known fact. Several people in law enforcement have told me they have done extensive research, and they have not found any state that has Post-certified Constable Gibbs.

However, current state law does not require constables to have any law enforcement training whatsoever. Anyone who is 21, lives in the district in which they are running, and has a high school education for GED, can be elected as a constable.
November 19, 2011 at 12:43am
I find it ironic that Jim Gibbs is a board member of the Tennessee Constables Association and their Mission Statement on their website states:

"The Tennessee Constable's Association is dedicated to the publics trust by education and training, the execution of all court orders directed to the constable and to serve the citizens of the community by upholding a high ethical standard that ensures justice with understanding."

It also states that they take pride in having a good relationship with law enforcement of their member counties, which seems the exact opposite when it comes to our constables. See to read more information from TCA.
November 19, 2011 at 8:46am
Have we not beaten this dead horse enough?

Do we really need to keep kicking it in the head despite the fact every known issue concerning the powers of Constables, the pursuit, the codes, the laws, the investigation by the Sheriff, Jim's certification, the use of blue lights, the issue of crossing a yellow line, the non use of sirens, the investigation by the D.A., the speeding by Jesse and every other possible combination of minute information someone spent hours researching off the internet has been commented on?

I am not defending anyone and I am not justifying any action by either of the two parties involved. BOTH of them chose to act according to their own beliefs and BOTH of them have skin in this game despite what is being portrayed here.

efisk what I find more ironic than anything is the time spent on determining if Jim Gibbs was violating a law by people vs. worrying about problems that they could help do something about.

Imagine how much could be accomplished if everyone on this site spent all the time researching zoning laws that could help our county vs. the use of blue lights on a constable car.

Imagine how much could be accomplished if everyone on this article spent all that time researching how we could obtain grants to improve our schools, our library or community center.

For me enough is enough. We have beaten this horse, kicked this horse, shot this horse, burned this horse in effigy and now it is time to bury this horse.

And most importantly, whether you like or dislike them, you should remember that Jim Gibbs and Jesse Laxton are your neighbors and BOTH are good men who made their own choices in this situation. You can agree or disagree with either one but we are commanded to “Love our neighbor as ourselves”.

Everyone needs to let it go and move on to the next travesty or get involved and try to accomplish something worthwhile to help Cannon County grow and prosper.
November 19, 2011 at 9:39am
Do we also get to imagine what Corey might accomplish if the didn't spend time lecturing others on what they should or should not do?
November 19, 2011 at 10:08am
Just so it is known I have been researching zoning, but it ultimatly is not my decision and I am not on the committee to determine zoning and planning. There is a lot to it just as it has been stated.

As far as grants go, researching that on the Internet becomes a complication as you end up going to sites that say they help with that, and then they do nothing but send you junk mail the rest of your life. I know this from experience looking for grants for other organizations. Legitimate grants are hard to find online, and companies do not make it easy to find the grant information unless they issue a public notice.

I would like to find grants to help small business but it has been hard to find one and then to get someone to take the time to write the grant without charging you as much as the grant is near impossible.
November 19, 2011 at 10:57am
If we are elimating the office of constables, should we start a citizens group that would work with city and county law enforcement to assist where they are capable and able?

if you are angered or upset when someone rides your bumper , try 8 mile per hour. it works just as good as 80 mph and less likely to cause death.
November 19, 2011 at 11:37am
Well Kevin if I wanted to toot my own horn then I would tell you here in this forum.

Or if I wanted to be self righteous like you then I would just sit in judgment of everyone else while living the life of an editor.

I am very capable of multi-tasking and I can spend time reading, commenting and expressing opinions on this site all the while accomplishing quite a bit for this county.

If you really want to know I will be glad to tell you. Give me a call or email me. If you want to continue to sit on your throne, then I have no desire to let you know anything.

Beating up on Jim Gibbs or Jesse Laxton is not something I consider worthwhile.
November 19, 2011 at 12:43pm
Corey it seems to me that your posts have beat ours. Maybe someone needs to take their own advise. Just saying......
November 19, 2011 at 4:11pm
True to form Corey. All talk, all bluster, no substance, no accomplishments.
November 19, 2011 at 4:26pm
Standing ovation for KevinHalpern!
November 19, 2011 at 8:12pm
As I recall, a few months ago a guy was arrested for impersonating a police officer because he had blue lights on his personal vehicle! Mr. Gibbs, if you want to be a police officer GO TO SCHOOL AND GET THE CERTIFICATION!!
November 20, 2011 at 6:34am
Just now reading comments and got the biggest laugh I have had since the Cain and Perry display of facts and figures at their fingertips.

"I would hope that the people in this county can be above such petty 3rd grade tactics."

This from a self appointed censor and bully who openly uses names like atheists, anti-Christ, anti-God, just for starters, when addressing others and he doesn't even know them.

What is the name of that old song? "They all laughed.....

November 20, 2011 at 6:36am
True to form Kevin. No call, no email, and no real desire except to cause controversy and obviously no idea what you are reporting as usual.

By the way Kevin what have you done for Cannon County during your three glorious years of living here besides condemn others?

How many grants have you applied for? How many committees have you set on? How many times have been involved with United Way? How many times have you been involved with the Senior Citizens Center? How many times have you helped set up meetings to help educate the citizens of Cannon County on things as simple as how to help create jobs in Cannon County or understand how their government can be run more efficiently?

I would guess the answer to any and all of those topics would be a big fat NONE.

TnT if you think my comments beat yours then I question your judgment on the reality of talking about someone on a public forum when you don't put your real name for someone to recognize who is saying it.

There is nothing I won't say to you publically that I won't say to you privately. If you disagree with Jim, Jesse or myself then say it to each one of us personally. Anyone can hide behind a pen name while blasting someone else because that's easy. What is hard is having the guts to say it when people know who you are.

By the way, I will give you the same opportunity as I did Kevin. You want to know what I have done and am currently doing for Cannon County then call me or email me and I will be glad to tell you despite what Kevin would try to falsely report.
November 20, 2011 at 7:19am
Typical Corey. Someone challenges his holier-than-thou existence and out comes the personal attacks. This is why I haven't bought the kinder, gentler persona he has tried to put forth lately for one second. It must be nice being a legend in one's own mind. Call or e-mail? If your accomplishments had been so noteworthy, you wouldn't have to toot your own horn.
November 20, 2011 at 8:38am
Frankly Corey I could care less about your accomplishments. So why would I call or email you? As for who I am..what does that matter. I don't recall saying anything bad in any of my comments. I stated my OPINION. When I stated you beat our comments I meant in length. You also presume that the rest of us on here can't multi-task as well as you do. Well, you presumed wrong! I work 50 to 60 hrs per week and since my job is mainly done on the computer I do take breaks and read the Courier. I drive this road daily that these gentleman were speeding on. They both openly admitted on this forum that they broke the law. I stated my opinion. Nothing more..nothing less. You question my judgement on the reality of talking about someone? Well to be honest I question your judgement on reality period! As for talking about anyone I truly think its in very poor taste to insult the editor of our local newspaper.
November 20, 2011 at 8:50am
LOL being a legend in your own mind is something you would know quite a bit about isn't it Kevin.

Again, what have you done? Again that answer would be nothing!

I will gladly compare what I do and what I have done to make Cannon County a better place to live against your record ANY TIME, ANY PLACE you choose.

That is not a personal attack mind you, that is fact which is something you struggle recognizining at times.
November 20, 2011 at 10:05am
I have a time and place. Right now and a letter to the editor. Why hide all these wonderful things in an email or a phone call? I dont recall ever seeing your name in the newspaper or on tv as doing so many grand things for Cannon County. The only time I see your name is when your slamming ppl for stating their OPINION. Seems to me that you throw your OPINION out pretty often. So here is your shining moment Corey. Well I'm back to multi-tasking. Have a great day!
November 20, 2011 at 10:08am
Corey, I have provided you with a daily pulpit to preach to the flock.
November 20, 2011 at 10:13am
Better than the McRibs at Golden Arch--Loving every morsel!
November 20, 2011 at 10:30am
You could at least offer to pick some up for the rest of us! :)
November 20, 2011 at 10:33am
Yum..that sounds good! All this multi-tasking is making me hungry! :)
November 20, 2011 at 12:57pm
In other words, you have purchased everything you have accomplished.
November 20, 2011 at 1:39pm
I think we must have got the same email Kevin, lol. All I'm going to say in reply to your email Corey is that you can have your opinion and I will have mine. If you dont like all the comments then dont read them. This was a public story brought to light by the two involved. They have to expect some people to be angry due to their lack of good judgement on that day. My family and many others that drive that road daily could have been killed. Yes, that makes me very angry. I'm hoping and praying that both will think twice before doing something so reckless again.
November 20, 2011 at 2:08pm
I think Corey is right,we have beaten and kicked this horse beyond death.Now it seems to be the time to start beating and kicking on Corey and Kevin. Just the way it appears to me.
November 21, 2011 at 7:36pm
Play nice children or you may be sent to time-out
November 21, 2011 at 8:02pm
I am sure this is not the only Cannon County Constable that Sheriff Young has had to call to account for thier actions. Ganoe has been known to do similar things. Ran one young man into his parents home where Ganoe was told to leave. I believe constables are required to have a psych evaluation prior to being certified to run for office?
November 29, 2011 at 4:44pm
I am a older woman & if the vechile did not have sirens,Blue lights I would NOT stop as I have in the pass been stopped by THP'S I would barely crack my window & ask to see a badge & I would explain to them why they seem to understand.If you Do not have a siren & blue lights I will NOT STOP!!!
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