Steve Lawson Formally Announces Sheriff Campaign In Bradley County; Former Democrat To Run As Republican

Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Steve Lawson
Steve Lawson

Bradley County Sheriff Capt. Steve Lawson formally announced on Tuesday that he is running for sheriff.

He said, “Over the past three years, the citizens of Bradley County and members of the sheriff’s office have been through embarrassing times regarding the personal and professional conduct of our current sheriff.

“I believe the citizens of Bradley County deserve so much more from our sheriff. I believe the position should be above reproach, and should set an example for every member of the department. I believe the sheriff must be a strong ethical and moral leader for our community. Claiming higher moral ground for political gain is simply wrong, and my belief is actions speak louder than words.

“So today, after much prayer, and with the support of my family, my pastor, and with the pledges of support from the community and many members of the local republican party, I am humbled to formally announce my candidacy for the Republican Party’s nomination for Sheriff of Bradley County, subject to the May 1st Republican Primary.”

Capt. Lawson, a law enforcement veteran of over 23 years of service, has a wide-ranging career in both the public and private sectors, and has been part of the administrations of six different Bradley County Sheriff's since he first entered law enforcement. Shortly after graduating from Bradley Central High School in 1976, he joined the sheriff’s office as a dispatcher. Over the years, he worked his way up to patrolman, patrol supervisor, detective, and detective supervisor, before leaving the department in 1988 to enter the private sector.

He said, “Working in the private sector for several years gave me a whole new perspective on what it really means to be a responsible public servant. I learned the importance of spending each and every tax dollar wisely as if they were my own hard-earned dollars.

“I also learned the hard working taxpayers in our community expect our elected officials to be public servants, not self-servants who benefit themselves in unethical ways while in office. Working at Bowaters was a true learning experience in many ways.” He worked at Bowaters Southern from 1988 until he resumed his law enforcement career in 2006 when he rejoined the sheriff’s department as captain of the Criminal Investigations Division.

In 2010, the Board of Directors of the 10th Judicial District Drug and Violent Crime Task Force offered him the position of director, and he became administrator of the four-county agency. Along with his administrative duties that included budget and personnel, Capt. Lawson actively supervised numerous task force agents who investigated drug trafficking cases and serious violent crimes, including murder and human trafficking, within the 10th Judicial District.

In 2014, he returned to the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office in his familiar role of captain of the Criminal Investigations Division. During his latest tenure at BCSO, the detective division produced the fourth best burglary solution rate in the State of Tennessee among all local law enforcement agencies, he said.

Capt. Lawson stated, “I am extremely proud of our statistics regarding how well we solve burglaries, but our success in not mine alone. It has been a true team effort involving the finest detectives I have ever had the honor to supervise, and the real credit for our success belongs to them.”

Throughout his law enforcement career, Capt. Lawson said he has taken every opportunity to expand his professional knowledge through training. He is a graduate of both the Tennessee Law Enforcement Basic Training Academy in 1979, as well as the Cleveland State Basic Law Enforcement Training Academy in 2007. Among dozens of specialized law enforcement training schools Lawson has attended over the years are legal aspects of law enforcement, major criminal case investigation, criminal investigation techniques and procedures, fingerprint collection and analysis, homicide case investigation, and auto theft investigation, to name just a few.

Capt. Lawson is a life-long resident of Bradley County, and he is the son of the late Sheriff Lamar Lawson and Faye Lawson.

He said, “The citizens of this county must be able to trust their sheriff to be truthful and honest in all matters. if we cannot trust the sheriff to do the right thing, then it’s definitely time for a change.

“I believe to be an effective sheriff, one must cooperate with all local and state governing agencies and officials in order to provide the best law enforcement protection for our community. I will implement checks and balances to ensure each tax dollars is spent for the maximum benefit of Bradley County.

“When a person makes the decision to offer themselves to serve in public office, one question defines their true purpose: “do i intend to be a public servant or self-servant?

“My promise to the citizens of Bradley County is to dedicate myself totally to the duties of this office. I will not be involved in questionable side businesses, shady deals, the bonding business, or any other conflict of interest. this is a full time job, and frankly, we deserve a full-time sheriff.

“I want to personally thank all the employees of the department for keeping their focus on the citizens of Bradley County and for their dedicated service. I want to ensure them my goal is to restore integrity to the office of sheriff, and to build back the pride we all once felt for the department we serve.

“I want to thank my mother, my wife Connie, sons Stephen, Dustin, and Chase, and my sister Connie Lawson Woods, for their unwavering support as I prayerfully consider what I could do to restore the community’s faith in our sheriff’s office. I also want to thank my church family at Mt. Olive Ministries for their continued support and prayers. I humbly ask for the support and prayers of every citizen of Bradley County as we move forward in this campaign.”

Having run for the office of sheriff before as a Democrat, Capt. Lawson explained his move to the Republican Party: “The beliefs and principles of the National Democratic Party are not the conservative beliefs and principles I was taught as a child growing up in Bradley County. Like President Ronald Reagan, and our own beloved Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland, I chose the Republican Party for its conservative values. Today I am proud to be an active member of the Bradley County Republican Party. I sincerely appreciate the warm welcome I have received from party members and party leadership.”

He said, “In closing, I want to say I stand on my 23 years of honest, ethical, public service with the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office and 10th Judicial Drug Task Force. If you want to know how I will serve as your sheriff, look no further than my past. You can count on me ‘to talk the talk’ and ‘walk the walk’ as your next sheriff. Our history defines who we really are, and what we will become.

“I sincerely ask for your support and prayers as we move forward in this campaign.

“Thank You.”

Partnerships Finding Success Stopping SNAP Fraud

The Tennessee Department of Human Services welcomed its 19th law enforcement partner in an ongoing initiative to fight abuse of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamps).  These State Law Enforcement Bureau agreements between the TDHS and agencies give investigators more tools to catch business owners who are fraudulently using another person’s ... (click for more)

Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond To Address Hamilton County School Board Tonight

Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond will address the Hamilton County School Board and HCDE Officials at their regularly scheduled meeting tonight at 5:30 p.m.   The meeting will take place at the HCDE Board Room, 3074 Hickory Valley Road.   A copy of tonight’s agenda can be found here .  (click for more)

Avoid Underage Drinking And Other Prom Drama

My high school prom took a dramatic turn when two guys got their tuxedo jackets mixed up. One of them belonged to my date, who kindly offered to keep my wallet in his pocket. That’s the jacket another young man mistakenly grabbed off the back of a chair before heading to an underage drinking party that got shut down by police well after midnight—as kids scattered in every direction.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Famed Freitas Speech

Several weeks ago a member of the Virginia House of Delegates (that’s what Virginia calls the state legislature) stood up and before that body responded to a claim by a Democratic lawmaker that Republicans were pro-Second Amendment and segregationists. Nick Freitas, who did two tours in Iraq with our Army’s Special Forces and has talked candidly about losing friends to terrorist ... (click for more)

Cleveland State Baseball Tops Piedmont College JV In Doubleheader

Cleveland State baseball took on Piedmont College's JV squad in a doubleheader  on Wednesday . The Cougars swept the Lions, winning game one by a score of 10-3 and game two by a score of 9-3. Ryan Inches was on the mound for the Cougars in game one, pitching 6 innings allowing 2 earned runs while striking out 6. Inches received the win, moving his record to 5-1 on the ... (click for more)

Lee Lacrosse Wins 17-12 Over Montevallo

The Lee lacrosse team exacted some revenge after an earlier season loss to Montevallo in winning their first home conference game 17-12 over the Falcons on a windy and cold Wednesday afternoon at the South Quad Field.   "We have been working hard all week preparing for this rematch with Montevallo. The girls put a lot of time and energy into correcting the little mistakes ... (click for more)