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LETTER: Sheriff Andis’ statements reckless and irresponsible

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At a Meet and Greet event hosted by the Washington County Democratic Committee in the Tyler Magisterial District on Sunday, May 1, Sheriff Blake Andis falsely asserted that three students had overdosed on gummies at Abingdon High School the previous week.

When challenged by attendees that an overdose of THC was not possible, Andis replied, “I don’t know what was in the gummies.” When asked if he was telling the audience that three students had died at AHS, Andis replied, “No, but Narcan had to be administered.”

A follow up inquiry was made to both Superintendent Brian Ratliff and School Board member Megan Hamilton. Both said that there were no overdoses, and no Narcan had to be administered. In fact, Dr. Ratliff contacted Sheriff Andis to ask why he would have made such a statement and asked him to correct the record with the committee.

Sheriff Andis called me almost immediately to retract both statements. He did not, however, express remorse for misleading the public so glibly and haphazardly.

As a constitutional officer and the person responsible for the training and oversight of SROs, (School Resource Officers) Andis’ statements are reckless and irresponsible. Washington County voters need leadership that is focused on facts, rather than false and inflammatory statements that further a personal political agenda. Our youth and their safety are not fodder for political gamesmanship.

Sheriff Andis owes his constituents the integrity that comes with the mantle of authority. Stoking fear and lying to the public is the antithesis of what we want in our chief law enforcement officer, whose job it is to protect and to serve.

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