The two have long tried to get a safety center that would help the mentally ill rather than lock them up.
You can watch the entire interview about that discussion and his appointment RIGHT SMACK HERE.
Nichols, a Democrat, opted not to seek re-election earlier this year. Jones, a Republican, won re-election. I'm not sure at this point what he will earn, but Nichols is a good hire. He genuinely wants to help the mentally ill and has a strong interest in a number of the issue that the sheriff wants him to focus on.
In a released statement, the sheriff said:
He will advise me on these issues and represent my office on all boards and commissions that deal with these most significant matters of concern. We all know that the prescription pill epidemic must be dealt with from many fronts: prevention, enforcement, rehabilitation, incarceration and through our state laws written by the General Assembly. This involves many meetings and some lobbying in Nashville to make sure the legislature is fully aware of the problems and will hopefully listen to law enforcement about our ideas on how to make it better. His 25 years of experience dealing with these matters will be of great use to me and the citizens of Knox County.Also in a released statement, Nichols said:
Our continued work dealing with domestic violence is critical. Violence in the home means violence outside the home and we must prevent our children from generational family violence.
I have long supported a Safety Center to divert the mentally ill from going to jail to a less costly and more efficient way to deal with the population. We are spending millions of dollars that I believe could go to better use if we implement the Safety Center concept. I am the first to say we need more input, more research in best practices, and looking at other ideas in this area, but we must move forward.
I believe my friend, Randy, will be of great assistance to me and my office and I know that he is a skilled lawyer who will represent me well. He starts on January 5, 2015.
I am glad that he has agreed to serve as my Special Counsel and I look forward to working with him as we make Knox County a safer place to live, work and raise a family.
Thank you, Sheriff, for allowing me the opportunity to continue working in the areas of prescription pill abuse, domestic violence and matters dealing with the mentally ill. I will try my best to represent you in a way to make you proud and help our county move forward on these issues that cause great misery to our people and incur massive costs for the taxpayers. You and I think alike in that there has to be better ways to deal with these problems that can only be achieved with considerable work and the ability to bring people together to make decisions.
I look forward to serving the citizens of Knox County and hopefully help in bringing about positive change.