Sunshine week, E911 and the Sheriff’s rebuttal to an editorial

KNS had this editorial that called out Knox County Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones explicitly today:

Knox County Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones clouded discussion of Tennessee’s Open Meetings Act during a meeting of the Knox County E-911 board last week. With the advent of Sunshine Week, which focuses on transparency in government, a clearing of the skies is needed.

… read more here.

Today, Jones fired back on the Sheriff’s Office website:

It’s Sunshine Week and the News Sentinel wants its readers to know that it’s time for “a clearing of the skies.”  The editorial in Tuesday’s paper isn’t talking about the weather, but the Sunshine Law.  A law that the newspaper trotted out when it failed to cover sixteen months’ worth of E-911 meetings concerning a contract for a new digital emergency communications system.    The paper had obviously deemed the meetings not worthy of coverage until it was alerted by lobbyists and politicians who had a stake in the radio system.

The editors at the paper believe a “backroom deal” was brokered between Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch and me.  I hardly call it a backroom deal when the Police Chief and Sheriff of the third largest law enforcement agencies in the state cannot talk about the safety and security of their officers and citizens.

I am fully aware of the Sunshine Law and that’s why I contend there was no violation between Chief Rausch and me.  The newspaper, however, is clearly hiding behind the Sunshine Law to distract from its failure to report on an issue that affects the entire community.  I believe the law does need to be revisited when a major media outlet manipulates it to cover up its own inadequacies.

Make of that what you will. Jones has taken to his website as a means to communicate missives through the E-911 reporting.

It’s worth nothing that Jones was reluctant to talk to KNS last week after the meeting.


About Gerald

A journalist in Knoxville, TN. Work (mostly) inside and play (mostly) outside. I'm a part of the X or the Y generation. None of us claim the other.
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