Rutherford Co. Sheriff's Office looks to reset after tumultuous - WSMV News 4

Rutherford Co. Sheriff's Office looks to reset after tumultuous week

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(WSMV file photo) (WSMV file photo)
MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV) -

The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office was turned upside down this week.

Sheriff Robert Arnold was suspended, Administrative Chief Joe Russell was fired, and Major Terry McBurney was indicted.

County commissioners are now divided over what happens next. They are looking for someone to stabilize the department.

All this came after a civil suit many thought was a long shot succeeded in taking the power away from an indicted sheriff.

“You may get a lot of people that tell you that you don’t have a chance or that this is not the appropriate thing to do at this time,” said Michelle Blaylock-Howser, attorney for the ouster group. “But you have to go with your gut and you have to say this is what the right thing is to do.”

A judge agreed that Arnold couldn’t do his job from a jail cell and suspended him.

Blaylock-Howser said she will pursue a permanent ouster even if Arnold is found not guilty in court.

County commissioners have begun the process of choosing an interim sheriff. That person will lead the troubled department until the 2018 election.

Commissioners voted Thursday night to name an interim sheriff on Jan. 12, though some disagree on the timing.

Another point of contention is whether it’s OK to choose an interim sheriff who might eventually run for sheriff, giving them an incumbent’s advantage.

“Personally I think anybody can be the sheriff and run again, as far as I’m concerned,” Commissioner Doug Shafer said. “We want the best person for the job.”

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