To say Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal has had a long and distinguished career in law enforcement would be an understatement. During his more than 30 years in the profession, he has demonstrated dedication, compassion and a joyful tenacity in doing his job.
It’s because of those traits, along with his experience and competence, that the Press feels Graybeal deserves another four years in office.
As sheriff, one of Graybeal’s most important and difficult duties is to oversee the county jail. His largely unblemished record in that regard was tested last year with the deaths of five inmates at the Washington Country Detention Center during a 10-month period.
Graybeal did not shirk from his duty to give a public accounting of these deaths, nor did he fail to meet his responsibility as a manager to conduct a tough internal probe of the policies and procedures at the jail. He also went one step further in asking for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to look into the deaths.
This was a wise move on Graybeal’s part, and one that many citizens of Washington County have praised. Having an independent investigation conducted by the TBI has helped to relieve many of the concerns county taxpayers have had about the operation of the Detention Center.
As far as the integrity and competence of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office under Graybeal’s leadership, we believe the proof can be found in the proverbial pudding. As the incumbent himself noted at our Community Editorial Board meeting in Jonesborough on April 1, his department’s recent re-accreditation shows he and his staff adhere to stringent policies.
Graybeal’s professionalism and dedication to law enforcement is known throughout the state, and we in Washington County are lucky to have him for a sheriff.
That’s why we urge the voters on May 6 to return him to the job he has so capably handled since 2003.