Editorial summary: Tennessee | Tennessee News

Kingsport Times News. September 17, 2021.

Editorial: Volunteer suspected of hoax should be extradited

Who would have thought that a citizen of another country would be responsible for the 911 call hoax that brought dozens of law enforcement officers to a locked-down volunteer high school in Hawkins County, and in one incident Similar, to Watauga High School in Boone, North Carolina?

An 18-year-old Canadian citizen has been arrested and, luckily for him, will face charges in the province of Manitoba where he lives. He will likely get away with it much easier than if he were extradited to the United States, which justice demands given the waste of resources and the emotional impact on hundreds of parents who thought their children were in danger of being killed. be hurt.

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A volunteer witnessed a lockdown and evacuation around 8 a.m. on August 10 after a 911 caller claimed to have a gun in the school. He said he was bullied and harassed by popular college students, was in the main bathroom with a handgun, and was going to go to the gym and start shooting.

Emergency officers and personnel from across the region converged on the school, along with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. An officer from the Church Hill Police Department was nearby and entered the building while the appellant was still on the phone. The officer told the students he encountered to go into lockdown mode.

Word quickly spread throughout the community that Volunteer and other schools in East Surgoinsville County were on lockdown. Parents with students in these schools have received notifications from the school system. Some also received calls from terrified students inside the school or other family members who had heard the news. At 8:20 a.m., dozens of vehicles were parked along Highway 11-W, mostly owned by parents who had teenagers in school and were awaiting news of their children and the lockdown.

Officers conducted at least two school-wide sweeps to make sure no one was left in the building and searched all students in the building to make sure no one had a gun. The students were transported by bus to the National Guard armory, where parents picked them up. Some parents and students came out of the armory crying.

Under Tennessee law, it is an act of terrorism to intentionally initiate or disseminate a report of imminent emergency knowing that the report is false and knowing that it will put a person in fear of serious bodily harm. imminent and which was intended, directly or indirectly, to intimidate or coerce a civilian population. This is a felony punishable by 15 to 60 years in prison and a fine of up to $ 50,000, in addition to reimbursement to all responding organizations.

But the laws in Canada are very different. Although he is an adult, we do not know the name of the 18-year-old due to privacy laws. The fact that he also resides on the Peguis First Nation in Manitoba, a reserve with just over 10,300 members of Ojubway and Cree origin, also complicates the situation. According to Canadian media, various law enforcement agencies had to work together to determine under which jurisdiction the case fell, ultimately deciding that, since the appeals originated in Manitoba, he would be prosecuted under Canadian national laws, including the Act. on the youth criminal justice system which allows a maximum prison sentence of two years.

In another case, a 17-year-old Vancouver resident who led a year-long campaign of harassment and mayhem with such hoaxes – called “swatting” – in Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts and Ohio, did was sentenced to only 16 months in prison. .

Such lenient sentences have little deterrent effect on this activity. And it seems unlikely that local agencies will be compensated for their costs.

In cases like this, the alleged perpetrators should be extradited.

Johnson City Press. September 18, 2021.

Editorial: Residential treatment plan could help break the cycle

This week, a group representing law enforcement and lawmakers across the region gathered at an event venue in Jonesborough to discuss how best to spend a multi-million dollar settlement reached under the Baby Doe opioid lawsuit.

In July, opioid maker Endo Health Solutions Inc. and Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. agreed to pay $ 35 million to settle the lawsuit brought by counties and municipalities in eastern Tennessee to help alleviate the burden that the opioid epidemic has placed on the region.

At Wednesday’s meeting, according to newspaper editor David Floyd, Stacy Street Criminal Court judge suggested using the funds to set up a residential drug treatment center where court referrals from recovery could receive treatment for substance abuse disorders and participate in vocational training.

Street and First Judicial District Attorney General Ken Baldwin said drug addiction may be partly responsible for the surge in incarceration rates in the region over the past decade, and that the current practice of Imprisoning low-level offenders who may be struggling with drug addiction does not address the underlying causes of crime or to break the cycle of recidivism and re-incarceration.

Street suggested using the old annex of the Northeast Correctional Complex at Roan Mountain, with a capacity of 180 beds, as a dormitory for the long-term residential treatment facility. Residents reportedly attend vocational school in Carter County.

It’s clear that current practices aren’t working, and it’s time to try something different.

Street’s new approach may be the solution for thousands of local residents struggling with drug addiction, and we can’t think of a better use of settlement funds than helping them break free.

However, this will require community buy-in.

As Baldwin pointed out this week, the lawsuit money will help lay the foundation for the program, but it will need sustained funding from state, federal and local sources to be successful.

The costs of a program that theoretically reduces recidivism would be paid when fewer people were incarcerated and instead they were productive members of the community.

We are prepared to give the plan and these people a chance.

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