Note: This story was updated at 3:48 p.m. April 11.
Oak Ridge Police Department Officer Randy Myers is resigning so he can focus on campaigning full-time for sheriff.
His last day on the job will officially be Tuesday, April 15.
“We’re campaigning full-steam,” Myers said Thursday. “We’re fully committed.”
Myers, 48, started with the ORPD in 2007. He is a Republican candidate for Anderson County sheriff in the May 6 primary election, where he has one opponent, Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper Anthony Lay. The primary winner will face the incumbent, Sheriff Paul White, a Democrat, in the Aug. 7 county general election.
Myers said he wanted to avoid any accusations of violations of the Hatch Act, which prohibit campaigning on duty. Those types of accusations could lead to the loss of his job, retirement (if he were fired with cause), and POST certification, which would mean he could no longer be a police officer in Tennessee, Myers said.
“It’s too easy for someone to accuse me of campaigning on duty,” he said.
Resigning now allows him to keep his retirement, vacation time, and the money owed to him, and it preserves his ability to work as a police officer in Tennessee. It also allows him more time to campaign from door to door, make phone calls, and meet people, Myers said.
Myers is perhaps most well-known in Oak Ridge for his work with the Neighborhood Watch program. He started his law enforcement career with the Belle Police Department in West Virginia in 1990. He worked for the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department from 1995 to 2002, where he was last a detective, and he worked for federal security contractor Wackenhut at the K-25 site in west Oak Ridge from 2003 to 2007. It’s been a 24-year career.
“I’ve literally been in law enforcement half my life,” Myers said.
He said his campaign is confident he can win. Voters want better communication between the sheriff and county department heads, residents, and elected officials, Myers said.
“The people want change, and we’re offering the change,” he said.
Myers was injured Sept. 25 when he fell 12 feet off a back deck in Oak Ridge while rescuing five dogs from a house fire. He said he will be taken off medical leave on Monday.
More information will be added as it becomes available.