Clinton Police Chief Vaughn Becker has been chief since August, but has been policing Anderson County for decades.
“Everything was in good shape when I took over,” he said.
A few years ago, the department pursued Tennessee accreditation. They received that accreditation two years ago and were the first police department in the county to do so.
So far, it’s the only department in the county to be accredited, although Oak Ridge is on its way.
That means updated policies, strict guidelines and being in compliance with the best practices recommended by the state of Tennessee.
Clinton is the 44th police department to receive the accreditation out of more than 400 police departments and 90 sheriff departments.
“We’re proud of that,” Becker said. “It was a huge process.”
It was something that former Chief Rick Scarboro initiated years ago, according to Becker.
The biggest benefit to being accredited is that the department does things to a national standard.
It helps the citizens and the employees. Citizen complaints have to be handled in an exact way, and promotions have to follow guidelines.
Becker’s background is in detective work. It’s something he’s still passionate about.
He has been in Clinton for 17 years and was in Rocky Top, formerly known as Lake City, for 10 years.
He started in Norris.
“Everyone in law enforcement has different interests,” he said.
“Some like the SWAT stuff, some like the K9 units, but detective work is what I always wanted to do. Those were some of the best times of my career.”
While he was able to solve a double homicide a few years ago and see the bad guy put in jail, he’s more proud of getting a lady her rock back.
“There was a lady that got her purse stolen at a business on Market Street,” he said.
“She came and reported it.
“She was an elderly woman and she says, ‘I’m not worried about the money or credit cards, but I had a rock in there that was from my mother.’
“Her mother had hand painted it and put a message on there for her. And it’s all she had from her mother.”
He was able to make a case and found the people that took it. He went to their home and spoke to them.
“I told them, ‘This lady really wants her rock back,’” he said. “And the lady that stole it said they knew there was something significant about the rock. She went to the top of her kitchen cabinet and got it, they had kept it.
“They stole the money, burned the purse, but they kept that rock. So I was able to get her her rock back. It meant a lot to her, and it meant a lot to me.”
Becker also worked child sex crimes, was a forensic interviewer and was the first from Clinton to go to the National Forensics Academy.
The city’s clearance rate — that’s the number of crimes resulting in an arrest — was 47.64 percent last year, and is on par to be around that this year as well.
That’s right in line with surrounding cities and counties.
Oak Ridge’s clearance rate is 54.28 percent, and Norris’ is 44.83 percent.
The average response time for Clinton Police is 3 minutes and 11 seconds for high priority and four minutes and 33 seconds for low priority.
For 2018, the most common type of crime other than traffic stops was calls for “suspicious activities.” Third place is theft.