LOUDON — James Massengill, Democratic candidate for sheriff in Loudon County, will not be placed on the ballot for May, according to the Loudon County Election Commission.
Massengill said he does not understand the decision.
“They have no valid reason to refuse me the right to run for sheriff,” he said.
One of only two Democratic candidates registered for the county election, Massengill submitted his petition Feb. 5 but fell short on his requirement for Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification, according to election Commissioner Susan Harrison.
“POST Commission has notified the Loudon County Election Commission that Mr. Massengill could not be certified by the POST Commission to be placed on the ballot in May,” she said.
The Election Commission will meet Thursday at 1 p.m. to certify the ballot.
Massengill said he does not know why he was disqualified. He said he completed the POST coursework and scored 100 percent on the 400-question exam. He said he has 35 years of law enforcement experience including working as a deputy for the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office.
Katelyn Abernathy with the POST Commission headquarters in Nashville said she did not have any information as to why Massengill was denied certification.
The state requirements to run for sheriff include POST certification or three years of law enforcement experience in the last 10 years. Massengill left the LCSO in 2006.
Serving as the primary regulatory body for Tennessee law enforcement, the POST Commission develops and enforces standards for law enforcement agencies statewide.
In addition to setting standards, the commission certifies law enforcement training instructors, curricula, and specialized schools.
Stuart Starr, chairman of the Loudon County Democratic Party, said he was disappointed to see the county lose one of its two Democratic candidates in the upcoming election.
Other candidates who entered the Loudon County race before the Thursday deadline include former county commissioner and school board member Van Shaver. Shaver filed his petition Feb. 19 to run for county commission District 5 seat B. The seat, which represents the northern part of the county, is held by Sharon Yarbrough, who has filed a petition to run. Marvin Stanley has also filed.