Johnson City News

July 08, 2020

Police chief announces multiple promotions

July 8, 2020
For immediate release

Police chief announces multiple promotions

Johnson City Police Chief Karl Turner on Tuesday announced seven recent promotions within the department. The promotional process consists of a written test, job-specific written exercises, and an assessment/interview. In addition, candidates’ work histories are evaluated and points are awarded for education level.

“These men and women represent the level of service and professionalism we strive for at the Johnson City Police Department,” said Chief Turner. “They are proven leaders who are dedicated to our community, and I am proud to serve alongside each of them.”

Debbie Botelho, who joined the department in 1987, has been promoted to deputy chief of police. During her time with the department she has served as a patrol officer, criminal investigator and watch commander. Botelho has also authored grants for the department and served as the administrator for several United Way fundraising programs. Most recently she served as the administrative major for JCPD.

Botelho graduated from the Northwestern University Traffic-Institute School of Police Staff and Command and holds degrees from Walters State Community College in public safety and criminal justice. She completed her bachelor’s degree at East Tennessee State University and also graduated from the FBI National Academy. 

Brian Rice, who has served as interim operations major since September 2019, has been promoted to administrative major. Rice has been employed by the Police Department since 1995, and also has five years of prior law enforcement experience. During his tenure with JCPD, Rice has served in a number of capacities: public safety officer, field training officer, investigator, Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team member, assistant platoon watch commander, watch commander, and as the officer-in-charge of the Department’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit (Bomb Squad). He graduated from the Hazardous Devices School at Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Ala., in 2001. Most recently, he oversaw the Internal Affairs Division as captain.

He is a graduate of both the Southeast Command and Leadership Academy (UT-Chattanooga) and the 241st Session of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy (University of Virginia). Rice will receive his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Bethel University in August. 

Rice was honored as the Police Department Outstanding Team Member for the City of Johnson City in March 2005. He previously served on the Governor’s Homeland Security Support Element and as a member of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. 

Matt Howell has been promoted to operations major. A graduate of East Tennessee State University, Howell began his law enforcement career with the Greensboro, N.C., Police Department in 1989 before joining the JCPD in 1991. 

During his time with the department, Howell has served as a public safety officer, field training officer and criminal investigator. Most recently, he oversaw the Criminal Investigations Division as captain. In addition, Howell has served as a polygraph examiner since 1998 following his graduation from the Argenbright International Institute of Polygraph. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

Kevin Peters, who has worked in the Criminal Investigations Division since 2007, has been promoted to Captain and will serve as the Criminal Investigations Division Commander. A Johnson City native, Peters started with the JCPD in 1991. In addition to the Criminal Investigations Division, he has also worked in the Operations Division as well as the Community Policing Unit. Peters holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from ETSU and is also a graduate of the Northwestern University's School of Police Staffing and Command. 

Eric Dougherty has been promoted to captain of Platoon 2. Dougherty attended ETSU and completed his field experience with the JCPD in 1993. Hired by the department that same year, Dougherty has served as a field training officer with the SWAT team and the K9 unit. Additionally he has served as the SWAT team commander as well as the sergeant for the K9 unit and the special investigative squad in the Criminal Investigations Division. Prior to the promotion, Dougherty was the lieutenant for Platoon 1. 

Mike Adams has been promoted to lieutenant for Platoon 1. Adams spent four years in the United States Marine Corps. He graduated from Walters State Police Academy and began his career with the Johnson City Police Department in 2001. Adams spent nine years as a patrol officer before being assigned as an agent of the First Judicial District Drug Task Force, later becoming its director. In 2015, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant and patrol supervisor prior to his reassignment as sergeant in the Criminal Investigations Division. Prior to his promotion to lieutenant, he served as the supervisor of the special investigation squad within CID, a position he held since 2019. Additionally, Adams served on the SWAT team for 11 years.

Keith Sexton has been promoted to lieutenant for Platoon 2. Sexton began his career in law enforcement with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in 1991. During his time with WCSO he served as patrol officer, K9 officer, SWAT team commander, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Task Force officer, sergeant and lieutenant. He joined JCPD in 2008 and has held a number of roles within the department. He has served as a patrol officer, investigator, DEA Task Force officer, training unit supervisor, SWAT Team commander, certified Hazardous Devices Technician and Bomb Squad Commander. Sexton holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Bethel University.

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July 07, 2020

Public invited to offer comments on accreditation standards

July 7, 2020
For immediate release

Public invited to offer comments on accreditation standards

The Johnson City Police Department is scheduled for a remote, site-based assessment beginning Monday, July 20 as part of a program to achieve accreditation by verifying the department meets professional standards. The assessment will be completed by a team from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement (CALEA), and they will be inspecting the Department’s policies, procedures, operational and administrative components, and support services.

As part of the assessment process, agency personnel, personnel from outside agencies, and community members are invited to offer comments during a phone-in session scheduled for Tuesday, July 21. Calls will be accepted from 9-11 a.m. and limited to 10 minutes per caller. The phone number to call in is (423) 434-6148.

Caller comments must address the ability of the JCPD to comply with CALEA’s standards. A list of the 459 standards that compose the tier 2 option of the CALEA Advanced Law Enforcement Accreditation Program are available at https://www.calea.org/node/11406. A full copy of the standards and specific information about how the JCPD meets those standards are available for review and can be viewed by appointment at 601 E. Main St., Johnson City, TN 37601. To make an appointment, please email Sgt. David Lowe, dlowe@johnsoncitytn.org, or MPO II Brittney Eberhardt, beberhardt@johnsoncitytn.org.

Due to time constraints for the phone-in session, emails can be sent to Calea@Calea.org with “Johnson City Police Department” in the subject line. Written letters may be mailed to: Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc., 13575 Heathcote Blvd., Suite 320, Gainesville, VA 20155-6660.

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July 02, 2020

City Commission to hold planning session Thursday

July 1, 2020
For immediate release

City Commission to hold planning session Thursday

The Johnson City Board of Commissioners will hold a strategic planning session Thursday (July 2) at 4 p.m. in the Administrative Conference Room of the Municipal and Safety Building, 601 E. Main St.

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July 01, 2020

Personal fireworks prohibited in Johnson City, ordinance to be enforced

July 1, 2020
For immediate release

Personal fireworks prohibited in Johnson City, ordinance to be enforced

The Johnson City Police Department is reminding community members that all fireworks are illegal inside City limits. This includes fireworks that may be legal to purchase in other cities or counties. The City of Johnson City Police Department will have extra officers working on the Fourth of July, and these officers will be looking for fireworks violations.

“Across the country, amateur fireworks, including sparklers, cause millions of dollars annually in property damage, and result in many injuries,” said Johnson City Police Chief Karl Turner. “Fireworks set off in residential neighborhoods can trigger flashbacks for veterans and gun violence survivors experienced post-traumatic stress disorder. The noise also creates panic for many animals who often runaway during fireworks displays.”

JCPD is asking for the community’s cooperation in keeping this Fourth of July holiday a safe one, by not possessing or using any fireworks in the City of Johnson City. Residents are encouraged to call 911 to report instances of illegal fireworks.

“We ask all citizens to abide by the ordinance to help ensure everyone’s well-being and prevent property damage,” Turner said.

Ordinance 11-139 in Johnson City Municipal Code states:

(1)  It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or offer for sale, or keep in stock, or give away, within the city, or one (1) mile thereof, any firecracker, cannon cracker, torpedo, Roman candle, sky rocket, pin wheel or any fireworks of any nature whatsoever, or any toy pistol or toy cannon, discharged by percussion caps by percussion caps and gunpowder or other means.

(2)  No person shall sell, possess or use fireworks of any description within the city; provided, that this section shall not apply to wholesale dealers and jobbers who may possess fireworks for sale to merchants; provided, further, that this section shall not apply to fairs, shows and exhibitors who desire to give fireworks displays for the amusement of the public; provided, that such displays shall be given under the joint supervision of the exhibitor and the city police department so as to protect the health and welfare of the public, but no such fireworks display shall be given without a permit from the city recorder.

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July 01, 2020

City Commission to hold planning session Thursday

July 1, 2020

 City Commission to hold planning session Thursday

The Johnson City Board of Commissioners will hold a strategic planning session Thursday (July 2) at 4 p.m. in the Administrative Conference Room of the Municipal and Safety Building, 601 E. Main St.