Citing a more than doubling of its student body this past decade, Lincoln Memorial University established its own police force Monday and signed a memorandum of understanding with Claiborne County and the Claiborne County Sheriff’s Department.
“The creation of an LMU police force is a necessary and essential step as this institution continues on its trajectory of rapid growth,” LMU President B. James Dawson said during a news conference on the university’s campus. “Our people are our greatest resource, and it is vital that we take every possible measure to protect them.”
The force will employ six officers who will be deputized with the authority to carry a weapon and make arrests.
Sheriff David Ray on Monday swore in LMU’s new police chief, Bill Sowder, a decorated 33year veteran of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and Tennessee Department of Safety. Sowder, 61, also served as a former Claiborne County chief deputy. Ray also deputized two LMU officers – Louis Collins, 37, of Speedwell, Tenn., and Travis Bailey, 31, of Middlesboro, Tenn. A third will be sworn in next week, Ray said.
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