Citizens for Better Government

Blount County Tennessee


The Sheriff wants 39% over list


How would you feel if you went to buy a car and the dealer gave you a price that was 39% above list? Worse yet, suppose you were required to use that dealer and could not go elsewhere.


The Sheriff’s department wasteful spending has placed the Blount county taxpayers in exactly that position. Take a look at the table below. It is based on the 2006 State Audit Reports and shows that the Sullivan county Sheriff provides law enforcement services to the same size population for 39% less per person.


Starting at the top of the table, you see that the population of Blount at 115,000 is far less than Sullivan at 152,000. When you deduct the population covered by the city police forces (Maryville and Alcoa in Blount, Kingston and Bristol in Sullivan), the two counties cover a nearly identical sized populations with Blount at 81,296 and Sullivan at 83,592. Sullivan has to cover more mileage of county roads, 918 miles, verses Blount’s 830 miles. And Sullivan has to provide backup to municipal police forces covering 69,000 people, where Blount provides backup to just 34,000. Sullivan makes more arrests for serious crimes than Blount, 3437 verses 3010.


With all these similarities, there is one huge difference between the two counties – the cost of Sheriff’s law enforcement services. The Blount county Sheriff spends 39 percent more per person than Sullivan county. His cost per arrest is 54 percent higher than Sullivan. Part of the reason for this is that the Sullivan county Sheriff uses 130 vehicles to do the same job that takes more than 263 vehicles in Blount.


The quality of law enforcement services is not an issue here. Both departments are recognized by CALEA, a law enforcement accrediting service, for the quality job that they do.


No matter how you slice it, the Blount county Sheriff department costs too much. And the taxpayers, like the consumer who finds a dealer asking for 39 percent above list, feel ripped off.


The Commission needs to bring this wasteful spending under control, not enact a tax increase so that it continues.


Comparison of Blount and Sullivan County Sheriff 05/06 Actual Expenditures





Total County Population




Municipal Police covered Population



Sullivan = 102% more backup

Net Sheriff covered Population



Sullivan has 3% more

Area in sq. miles



Blount=559 with park

County road miles ex cities




05/06 Law Enforcement Expenditures




Other Administration of Justice(Court Safety)




Sheriff's Department




Special Patrols




Traffic Control




Drug Enforcement




Vehicles and Equipment




Total Law Enforcement Expenditures



E911 removed from Sullivan - not in Blount. Sullivan includes animal control and shelter

Total Number of Arrests




Cost per Arrest



Blount is 54% higher

Cost per capita of Sherff covered population



Blount is 39% higher

Total Number of Sheriff Vehicles



Blount is 102% higher


Citizens for Better Government