Sheriff: Department needs boat for emergencies, investigations on county waterways

10:00 am | November 5, 2013

During the Monday night Carter County Law Enforcement Committee meeting Carter County Commissioner Ken Arney raised concern about a Carter County Sheriff’s Department advertisement he saw approximately a month ago regarding a bid for a crossover boat.

Photo by Kayla CarterSheriff Chris Mathes explains how he plans to seek funds to purchase a watercraft for the department to Commissioners Buford Peters, Tom Bowers and Ken Arney.

Photo by Kayla Carter
Sheriff Chris Mathes explains how he plans to seek funds to purchase a watercraft for the department to Commissioners Buford Peters, Tom Bowers and Ken Arney.

“I know we can’t tell the officeholders how to spend their money, but I couldn’t believe what I saw,” Arney said. “There are no highways on Watauga Lake or Watauga River or the Elk River.

“It struck me as odd,” he said

Arney said the waters are the jurisdiction of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, but Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes said the TWRA is not always available to respond to emergencies on the water.

Mathes also cited concern about accounts of drug activity near the lake.

“We have no access to so many places on the lake,” Mathes said. “I need a way to get there. This last drowning just documented in the report where I had used my personal watercraft to get out there.”

A price of about $60,000 was quoted to Arney when he researched the cost of the equipment, he said. He also pointed out that the expense is too high for the equipment to be used on a seasonal basis.

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