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6—Herald Chronicle, 2018 Leadership Franklin County


ith the New Year already ushered in, Franklin County’s

Chamber of Commerce Leadership program got back

into session on Jan. 10 with a visit to the county’s judi-

cial area with stops at Franklin County’s Emergency Management

Center, the Jail and the Judicial Center.

The day offered students the chance to see firsthand how the

county deals with emergences and upholds the law, in turn mak-

ing Franklin County a safe place to live. Unlike previous tours of

the area, this required walking due to the separate buildings on

George Fraley Parkway.

The morning started off at the Tennessee National Guard

Armory for a briefing of the day’s plans and a talk by Sgt. Maj.

Adam Davis on what goes on at the building for members of the

National Guard.

Davis explained to the class that what people knew about the

Guard’s duties in the past are gone. The National Guard is com-

pletely different. The base is an operational force that is at the

president’s disposal if need be.

After a little bit of breakfast and talk from a couple of National

Guard officers, the group embarked on a short walk to “the bun-

ker,” also known as the Franklin County Emergency Management

center that used to house General Sessions Court.

EMA Director Scott Smith, who is also the director for 911 in

Franklin County, gave the class a tour of the place where all the

emergency calls go and are directed to first responders to handle

all the emergencies in Franklin County. The bunker provides the

perfect place for the county to manage crises that happen and

maintain open communications in case of a disaster.

The next stop on the tour was a walk to the County Jail, oper-

ated by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. Public Information

Officer Sgt. Chris Guess talked about the jail’s role in society and

how inmates are booked and processed. He also showed how they

deal with people who are unruly when being booked.

One of the favorite parts of the tour was going up in a tower

that controls everything in the jail and seeing how the inmates

occupy their time. One of the inmates played a fake baseball game

for himself. It remains to be determined if he won the matchup.

After the tour of the Jail, the class headed back to the National

Guard Armory for a chat with 12


Judicial District Attorney Mike

Taylor. He oversees all the cases prosecuted for six counties in

the district.

Taylor told the Leadership program he would like to think

after all these years, he has done the right things and brought

justice for his district.

Taylor went on to explain a lot of cases don’t get settled for a

while because of a backlog and not enough judges to efficiently

hear them. They try to get through them as best as possible, con-

sidering the circumstances, he added.

The group refreshed with lunch provided by the Franklin

County Chamber of Commerce and viewed military weapons that

the National Guard would use if called into battle.

Before the group headed over to the Judicial Center, Josh

Hunt, game warden with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agen-

cy, talked about his job of protecting Franklin County’s wildlife

and looking for lost hikers.

The last stop for the day was a tour of the Judicial Center

Judicial Day

where all court cases in the county get

heard. The class got to view a General

Sessions Court seizure of money for a

drug case. Judge Tom Faris took time to

explain that the particular court is the

starting point for many cases, starting

with speeding tickets and extending to

capital murder.

Faris explained how he got started as

a judge and the schooling required to be-

come one.

Circuit Court Clerk Robert Baggett

explained how his office organizes all the

court dockets that come through each

year and how he manages all of it. He

credits his staff for helping with the load

that comes through the Judicial Center.

Baggett handed out a $10 bill for one

lucky individual in the class if they could

answer what judicial district Franklin

County is in.

Sheriff Tim Fuller spoke about all the

responsibilities that he has as a law en-

forcement leader. The four main issues he

described were running the jail, handling

criminal and civil warrants, providing se-

curity for the courts and ensuring public

safety for civilians daily.

The last area of the center was a very

unique one, a visit to Chancery Court.

This court deals with civil cases and

equity. Chancellor Jeffery F. Stewart gave

the class a history lesson on how Chan-

cery Court came to be.

Franklin County Sher-

iff’s Sgt. Chris Guess

demonstrates what hap-

pens when someone is

being unruly when be-

ing processed. Siting in

the chair for the demon-

stration is Ashlee Chris-


—Staff Photo by

Seth Byrd