About 70 years of combined law enforcement experience between two candidates is at stake in the Sumner County sheriff’s race.
On March 31, incumbent Sumner County Sheriff Roy “Sonny” Weatherford and his challenger Keith Bean briefly addressed a host of political forums at Portland City Hall ahead of the May 3 primary. Weatherford has 36 years of law enforcement experience and Bean 34.
Each candidate had three minutes to address the crowd.
Weatherford spoke of his training, which he estimated at more than 4,600 hours, and the introduction of more training for his staff during his 11 years in office.
“We have more technology (in the office) than we ever had before,” he said. “We had more training than ever before. Our training is more than our required training.
“We have advanced training and expert-level courses taught by renowned instructors.
Weatherford attributes training and technology in part to a “75% increase in cases closed because of their knowledge.”
School safety is a priority, he said. “When I started the office, we had seven” school resource officers, he said. There are now 41, and six positions, he said, are expected to be filled in the near future.
“They serve as mentors, educators and tutors,” Weatherford said.
Bean served with the Hendersonville Police Department and the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office. He retired in 2020, he said, to focus on running for sheriff.
He touted the Internal Affairs Division, which he said he created in 2006 under former Sheriff Bob Barker, as well as the drug take-back and background check programs.
The sheriff has more responsibilities than just law enforcement, he said, referring to providing bailiffs to the courts as well as overall security there, running the jail
In addition, he said, there is the processing and serving of warrants.
“You will see (on his website, beanforsheriff.com) that I deal with these four areas and not just law enforcement,” he said.