Police: Man found with suspected meth residue, $29K; charged with money laundering

James Phillip Chase

James Phillip Chase

Police said they found large vacuum seal bags that contained suspected crystal methamphetamine residue and $29,000 in a pickup truck pulled over for speeding in Oliver Springs on Tuesday.

Also found in the vehicle were tracking numbers, numerous shipping envelopes and rubber bands, addresses, documents related to the sale of controlled substances, deposit slips, and packing tape, said Oak Ridge Police Department Officer John Wilson, an investigator with the Seventh Judicial Crime Task Force in Anderson County.

The defendant, James Phillip Chase, 53, of Dutch Valley Road, has been charged with money laundering, simple possession of a Schedule II drug (methamphetamine), and speeding. He remained jailed in the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton early Saturday morning. [Read more…]

ORPD review expanded to include all employees, some former workers

Oak Ridge Police Department Cars

But MTAS will have to agree to changes

The review of the Oak Ridge Police Department has been expanded to include interviews with all employees. The review could also include interviews with former employees who have left the Police Department since Police Chief Jim Akagi started almost four years ago.

Initial plans had called for a limited review of the Oak Ridge Police Department and interviews of a random sample or cross-section of employees.

But the Oak Ridge City Council expanded the review during a special meeting on Tuesday. That special meeting was called after concerns were raised about the initial list of randomly selected interviewees being sent to the police chief, city manager, and all Police Department employees, which raised questions about the impartiality and confidentiality of the review.

By one estimate, the expanded review could include interviews with more than 100 people. And it’s not clear if the Municipal Technical Advisory Service at the University of Tennessee will agree to the expanded review, or if they might charge the city.

The City Council agreed to expand the review during a three-hour special meeting on Tuesday that included criticism of MTAS, accusations of collusion between Council members, and an attempt by Council member Trina Baughn to have resident Joe Lee, one of her chief critics, stop taking pictures during a public comment session. [Read more…]

ORPD arrests home intruder

Thurman B. Bates

Thurman B. Bates

The Oak Ridge Police Department on Tuesday arrested a man who entered the home of his ex-girlfriend without permission and threatened to assault her, authorities said.

Officers responded to the home on Inn Lane at about 11:25 p.m. Tuesday. The man who allegedly entered without permission was later identified as Thurman Bates, 36, of Oak Ridge, a press release said.

Officers said the victim managed to escape the residence by crawling out a window and fleeing to a neighbor’s home to call the police. When they arrived, officers entered the victim’s residence in search of Bates, who had barricaded himself behind the door in the residence, the release said. Officers forced entry into the room and found Bates hiding in a closet.

The release said Bates was taken into custody with the assistance of a police canine after he briefly resisted arrest. Bates was arrested and transported to the Anderson County Detention Facility, where he was charged with aggravated burglary, domestic assault, and resisting arrest.



Man charged in attempted ATM theft with Bobcat on Christmas Day 2013

Bobcat and ATM Safe from Y-12 Federal Credit Union

A Bobcat allegedly involved in a plot to steal a safe from an ATM in east Oak Ridge on Christmas Day 2013 is tipped over on its side in a small ditch next to the safe, which had not been opened. (File photo/December 25, 2013)


Stanley Wallace II

Stanley Junior Wallace

A Kingston man has been arrested and charged in the alleged conspiracy to steal an ATM safe loaded with $26,000 in cash using a Bobcat and pickup truck on Christmas Day 2013.

The plot to steal the 4,000-pound safe was unsuccessful. But the suspects were able to demolish the stand-alone Y-12 Federal Credit Union automated teller machine near Tractor Supply in east Oak Ridge and pull the safe several hundred feet across a field before the Bobcat tipped over in a small culvert next to Bogola Road. An attempt to remove the cash box with a stolen Ford F250 pickup truck also failed, so the suspects left the area, authorities said.

Stanley Junior Wallace, 25, of Lawnville Road in Kingston, has been charged in the case. He was arrested March 26 and faces charges of attempted theft of more than $10,000, vandalism of more than $10,000, attempted aggravated burglary, auto burglary, conspiracy, aggravated trespassing, and joyriding.

Oak Ridge Police Department Detective William Weaver said he interviewed Wallace at the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on April 21, 2014. Wallace was given his Miranda warning and agreed to speak with Weaver, according to arrest warrants. [Read more…]

Alternatives to Incarceration meets April 29

There will be a meeting to discuss updates to the Anderson County Alternatives to Incarceration program on Wednesday, April 29.

The meeting starts at 4 p.m. April 29 at the Anderson County Courthouse in Clinton in Room 118 A.

The notice was sent by Mary Ann Young, the new director of the Alternatives to Incarceration program.

Council to consider restart on ORPD review during special meeting Tuesday

Oak Ridge City Council on Feb. 9, 2015

The Oak Ridge City Council will have a special meeting on Tuesday, April 21, to consider three recommendations related to the 30-day review of the Oak Ridge Police Department that was approved in March. (File photo)


A 30-day review of the Oak Ridge Police Department had barely gotten started before it came under fire. But the Oak Ridge City Council will try to fix that on Tuesday.

The concern centers on a report that the list of ORPD employees randomly selected for the first 20 interviews was sent to Oak Ridge Police Chief Jim Akagi and all Police Department employees, raising questions about the impartiality and anonymity of the review. The reviewer, Rex Barton of the Municipal Technical Advisory Service at the University of Tennessee, apparently sent the list to the police chief for scheduling purposes, seeking to minimize overtime and minimize stress on the officers’ off-duty life.

But those who have pressed for an investigation, including Oak Ridge City Council member Trina Baughn, quickly objected when they learned that the list of interviewees had been sent to the police chief, who has been the subject of much of their scrutiny.

So, in a special meeting Tuesday evening, the City Council will ask Barton, an MTAS police management consultant, to create a new, random list of officers to interview. Council will also consider determining a point of contact in the Oak Ridge Police Department who can help coordinate the schedules of officers participating in the interviews. [Read more…]

Letter: Citizens Police Academy increased respect, appreciation for ORPD

To the Editor:

We graduated from the third Oak Ridge Citizens Police Academy on March 30. It was such an honor to be a part of this group. Both of us already had deep respect and appreciation for the men and women of the Oak Ridge Police Department, but what we learned in the Academy increased our respect and appreciation for them exponentially.

A few things we learned about the officers and their jobs were:

The many tools they use in their job: [Read more…]

MTAS: ORPD review to be extensive, but not clear who will be interviewed

Oak Ridge Police Department Review Protest

Protesters who want all officers to be able to speak to a consultant reviewing the Oak Ridge Police Department are pictured above outside the Oak Ridge Municipal Building before the Monday night City Council meeting.


Note: This story was last updated at 9:35 a.m. April 20.

The review of the Oak Ridge Police Department will be extensive, but it’s not clear yet who will be interviewed, an official said Friday.

The proposal submitted by the Municipal Technical Advisory Service and approved by the Oak Ridge City Council in March called for interviewing a randomly selected group of police department employees. It also called for interviewing other city employees and officers and possibly talking to community leaders not directly employed by the city.

But some have expressed concern that others who want to speak, including former officers and city residents, might not be able to under the limited 30-day review and random selection proposed by MTAS.

“These men deserve to be heard, all of them,” said Christen Thomas, wife of Oak Ridge Police Department Officer John Thomas.

The independent MTAS review will use Police Management Consultant Rex Barton, a former administrative captain for the Athens, Tennessee, Police Department. MTAS is part of the Institute for Public Service at the University of Tennessee. [Read more…]

Man charged with bribery after allegedly offering money for drug test help

Ronald Lynn Fox

Ronald Lynn Fox

A Clinton man was charged with bribery of a public servant after he allegedly offered to pay a probation officer $40 to help him pass a court-requested drug test, authorities said.

Ronald Lynn Fox, 55, allegedly offered the money to probation officer Chad McNabb on Monday, April 13, because he was afraid he might not pass the drug screen.

“The victim (McNabb) stated that the offender told him he had taken a subelex pill and offered the victim $40 to help him pass the drug test that he was afraid he might not pass,” Anderson County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Gregory Pearmain said in an arrest warrant. “(McNabb) told (Fox) that he would not help him and then promptly contacted the sheriff’s office to respond to the courthouse.”

The alleged bribery, which is a felony, occurred on the third floor of the Anderson County Courthouse in Clinton, where the courtrooms and other court-related offices are located.

No injuries, but four units damaged in apartment fire on West Outer

West Outer Drive Apartment Fire

No one was injured, but four units were damaged in an early morning apartment fire on West Outer Drive on Friday, April 17. (Submitted photo)


No one was injured, but four units were damaged in an apartment fire on West Outer Drive early Friday morning.

The fire was reported at about 2:58 a.m. Friday, April 17. The occupant of the quad-plex apartment building at 337 West Outer Drive was sleeping at the time of the fire. He was awakened by the fire and attempted to extinguish it before exiting the apartment, Oak Ridge Fire Department Chief Darryl Kerley said.

He then woke up the other occupants in units 331 and 333, who then called 911. ORPD arrived on the scene three minutes after receiving the emergency call and reported fire coming from the rear of the structure and windows, Kerley said. [Read more…]

Neighborhood cleanup focuses on Highland View on May 2

Keep Anderson County Beautiful T-shirt

Photo submitted by Mare Martell

Help put the unity back in commUNITY at this year’s neighborhood cleanup hosted by the Oak Ridge Police Department Community Resource Office, the Oak Ridge Neighborhood Watch Program, Keep Anderson County Beautiful, and Central Baptist Church.

All participants will rally in the big parking lot of Central Baptist Church at the Hillside Road side. Sign-in and equipment pickup starts at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, May 2. The event will run from 9 a.m.-12  p.m. This happens rain or shine.

If you have a particular area on which you prefer to focus your attention, please call one of the contact numbers to arrange for the pickup of the trash-filled bags. (The sign-in and equipment pickup applies even for the people who have special requested a particular area before May 2 by contacting Officer Brandan Sharp or Sharon Crane). [Read more…]

Oak Ridge woman convicted of abuse charge

Note: This story was updated at 11:05 a.m. April 17.

Oak Ridge Today/WYSH Radio

An Oak Ridge woman will spend the next 15 to 25 years in a state penitentiary after an Anderson County jury needed less than 20 minutes Tuesday to convict her of aggravated child neglect following a trial in Anderson County Criminal Court.

Melissa Lopez, 37, was charged with failing or refusing to seek emergency medical care for her then-10-month-old son, who had suffered what the Anderson County District Attorney’s Office described as “horrible,” second-degree chemical or thermal burns to his skin and injuries to his eyes in November 2008.

The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services began an investigation after someone called and told them about the infant’s injuries, and DCS workers compelled Lopez to take the boy to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, where he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit for treatment of his skin burns, eyes, and management of his pain. [Read more…]