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News General

While prepping his annual budget, which totals about $6 million, Macon County Sheriff Robert Holland does his best to estimate how much he needs to allocate for mental health commitments.

Since 2006, the cost of involuntary commitments in Macon County has increased by nearly 850 percent. In 2006, MCSO deputies were spending on average 12 man hours per commitment, costing the department $29,964 that year. Now, eight years later, those numbers have dramatically increased. Officers are now spending 41 hours per commitment, with more than double the number of commitments per year, costing the department around $253,625.

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Macon County Sheriff's Department Detective Tim Holland is still at home recovering from surgery that was a result of injuries incurred in a police chase that ensued Thursday evening.

Detective Holland, along with Detective Will Rhoden were involved in a chase Thursday after a suspect failed to stop for a routine traffic stop. While briefly attempted to flee police in his vehicle, Jessie Mal Cowart, 25, wrecked on Arthur Drake Road before taking off on foot.

According to Sheriff Robert Holland, Cowart fled into a wooded area and was immediately pursued by both Rhoden and Holland at which point Cowart refused to cooperate with law enforcement's commands to stop.

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Macon County’s Vietnam Veterans of America, Smokey Mountain Chapter 994 will host its annual Vietnam Veterans Day Parade and Ceremony on Saturday, March 28, at 10 am. This weekend marks the 42nd anniversary of the removal of all American combat troops from Vietnam, ending two decades of conflict in the Southeast Asian country.

The parade participants will meet and form up in the Franklin Town Hall parking lot on Main Street. The procession will begin at 10 a.m., proceeding up Main Street ending at the Franklin Town Gazebo.

At the Gazebo, a ceremony will be conducted, honoring Vietnam Veterans and the families of Macon County Vietnam Veterans who made the supreme sacrifice, giving their lives during the Vietnam conflict. Featured speakers for the ceremony will be two Vietnam Veteran Prisoners of War, Nathan B. “Nat” Henry and Tom Pyle. Several local officials will also speak.

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“Keep your hands where I can see ‘em!” Scott Buttery, a patrol lieutenant with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, repeated the order – but the individual who’d been breaking into a car wouldn’t comply. Instead, the suspect reached into his back pocket then swung his right arm forward.

Before less-seasoned onlookers could determine whether the item in the suspect’s hand was a weapon or something less ominous, Buttery fired his weapon. Had the officer waited an instant later, the subject would have pulled the trigger on his own pistol.

Fortunately, the perpetrator was an actor projected onto a screen. The pistol was a modified Glock with no live ammo. The entire 20-second scenario was part of a “use of force” training session arranged by Southwestern Community College on Thursday, March 19, in a training room of the sheriff’s office.

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