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DeKalb Sheriff’s Department meets use-of-force standards to be eligible for DOJ grants

January 1, 2021
By: Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department has met the standards for use of force required to receive grants from the U.S. Department of Justice’s discretionary fund.

The Sheriff’s Department will now be eligible for these grants for the next three years.

Starting in 2021, DOJ discretionary grants will only be allocated to law enforcements agencies that meet certain standards from independent credentialing bodies.

To become certified and eligible, the law enforcement agencies have to provide proof that the department’s use of force policies are in line with all applicable federal, state, and local laws.

This is the letter Sheriff Patrick Ray received Thursday:

Dear Sheriff Ray,

“On behalf of the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police and the Tennessee Law Enforcement Accreditation Program, this letter confirms that the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department meets specific eligibility requirements, set forth by the U.S. Department of Justice, for discretionary federal grants. The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department is qualified to receive federal grants for three years from the date of this letter.

Pursuant to Section 2 of the Presidential Executive Order on Safe Policing for Safe Communities, dated June 16, 2020, Executive Order No. 13929 (the “Executive Order on Safe Policing”), the U.S. Department of Justice’s discretionary grant funding is only available to state, local, and university or college law enforcement agencies that have obtained (or are in the process of seeking) credentials certifying that they meet specific standards on use of force. The U.S. Attorney General has designated the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police as an independent credentialing body to certify that Tennessee law enforcement agencies meet the conditions of eligibility for federal grants.

Following our review, we have determined that the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department meets the conditions for certification. Accordingly, the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police will include your agency within our database of certified law enforcement agencies. On or before January 31 of each year, we will provide the name of each certified law enforcement agency to the U.S. Department of Justice and the TN Office of Criminal Justice Programs”.

Maggi M. Duncan, Executive Director
Troy Lane, President

Community Calendar Closings for New Year’s Day

January 1, 2021
By: Dwayne Page

County Clerk Office Reopens
The DeKalb County Clerk’s Office reopened Thursday through the close of the business day and will be open on Saturday, January 2 from 8 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. which is the usual Saturday hours for the office. Patrons may conduct business at the drive-thru window. The office will be closed Friday for New Year’s Day but will be open on Monday, January 4.

The Mike Foster Multipurpose Center to be Closed for the New Year Holiday
The Mike Foster Multipurpose Center in the County Complex will be closed Friday New Year’s Day January 1 and Saturday January 2, 2021.

Court House and County Offices to be closed for the holiday
The DeKalb County Courthouse, County Complex County Offices, and Senior Center will be closed Friday New Year’s Day January 1, 2021..

DeKalb County Transfer Station and all trash collection sites to be closed New Year’s Day
The DeKalb County Transfer Station and all trash collection sites will be closed Friday New Year’s Day, 2021.

No Garbage Pickup in Smithville on New Year’s Day
The City of Smithville has announced that there will be no garbage pickup on New Year’s Day. All Friday garbage routes will be run Monday, January 4 along with the regular Monday routes.

DeKalb County Libraries Holiday Schedule
Justin Potter and Alexandria Libraries will be closed New Year’s Day on January 1st.

LBJ Head Start to be Closed for Holidays
The L.B.J.& C. Development Corporation Head Start Centers will be closed through January 3, 2021. Children and staff will return to the Head Start Centers on January 4, 2021. The L.B.J.& C. Development Corporation Head Start Central Office will be closed January 1, 2021.

Students will be back in school Monday, January 4
Director of Schools Patrick Cripps said plans are for students to return to their schools for in-person learning Monday except for those who have already previously signed up to be on remote learning. Parents who want their children to be signed up for virtual learning for the first time may contact the school where their children attend on Monday, January 4.

WJLE Turns the Spotlight on DCHS Senior Band Member Charlie Ford in First of Four Part Series

December 31, 2020
By: Bill Conger

The DeKalb County High School Fighting Tiger Band didn’t enjoy its typical marching season this year due to restrictions from the pandemic. Originally scheduled for two weeks, band camp, where most of the musical marching show is developed, was cancelled. During the first part of the football season, the band wasn’t allowed to play due to COVID-19 concerns, and many of the competitions were cancelled. On top of that, Band Director Tracy Luna was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and in the interim Assistant Band Director Don Whitt stepped in to the lead spot.

Despite the disappointments, the band moved forward the best it could performing a special tribute show at halftime of Homecoming for Mr. Luna.

“I loved hearing them play in person,” Tracy Luna said. “We are smaller in number this year, but we are mighty in spirit, and it showed on the field.”

“I really hated being away from all of my students,” Luna added. “It means so much to me to see how our band students have kept their chins up this season. It’s been such an unsettling time, but they’ve come through like the champions that they are.”

Band students and boosters showed their love for the devoted band director by donating the $2,000 raised at the Chrome Concert to help Mr. Luna and his family.

“I want to thank all the students, parents and members of the community that came out to support me at the Chrome Concert,” Luna said. “It meant so much to me and my family. My colleagues at the high school and other people in the county showed their support by buying t-shirts and wearing them in my honor on Black and Gold day at the school. It really choked me up seeing people show how much they care.”

While Luna continues to undergo chemotherapy and radiation to attempt to shrink the tumor, the shows will go on for the D.C.H.S. band. For now Acting Director Don Whitt plans to have both a concert band and jazz ensemble for the second semester.

WJLE also is kicking off a four part series on the senior band students—Charlie Ford, Josh Moon, Victor Luna, and James Tramel. Today’s spotlight falls on Charlie Ford.

Music is all in the family for D.C.H.S. Senior Charlie Ford

“I joined band because each of my siblings as well as my parents were in band,” Ford said. “The first show I performed in marching band was also the first time my brother, my two sisters, and I were all performing together.”

Charlie’s brother Sam played trumpet, and his sister Mattie played percussion while Julie played clarinet and was drum major.

Charlie is the 17-year-old son of Jeff and Bobbie Ford. Both his parents are musical too. His dad played trumpet in high-school and at Mississippi State and mom played clarinet and was drum major at her high-school.

Charlie has been playing alto saxophone for eight years.

”I became interested in band in 3rd grade after Sam and Julie both enjoyed a year of band and finally joined in 5th grade.”

“What I enjoy about Charlie is he is an out of the box thinker,” Acting Band Director Don Whitt said. “He can see a situation different than what I see things. He is a very gifted saxophone player.”

“The most challenging part about learning how to play and improve the saxophone is learning the new fingerings for each note,” Ford said. “There are plenty of different notes that use complex fingerings.”

When Charlie plays his last note in high school, he plans to head to Dark Horse to study to become an audio engineer.

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