SHERIFF JOHN CUPP
John A. Cupp, Jr. was born to Sarah and John Cupp, Sr. in Youngstown, Ohio on April the 8th, 1931. Born to a large, blended family, John was one seven children born to John Sr. He had one brother and a sister, as well as two half-brothers and two half-sisters.
He attended elementary and junior high school at Catholic Schools in Youngstown. In his spare time, he managed a paper route, no small feat considering the harsh winters of Ohio. For high school, he attended South High School of Youngstown, where he was an active member of the Debate team. He graduated in 1950.
In his early years, John worked in a variety of fields, beginning as a manager trainee for the WT Grant Company, an Ohio chain of department stores. Then in (year?) he began a yearlong stint as a Yard Clerk at the Republic Steel Transportation Division, reporting to the Yard Master. His varying duties included managing the railroad car movement, as well as maintaining up-to-date inventory counts of the numerous cars that traveled throughout the steel mill.
His collegiate years would take him to Tampa, Florida, where he attended Florida Christian College, majoring in Bible with a minor in Psychology. In his post-collegiate activities, he worked for the U.T. Medical Unit in Memphis, TN. He also began to take on numerous ministerial assignments in the cities of Miami and Marathon, Florida.
In 1952, he married Carolyn Bridges of Jacksonville, Florida on September the 8th. They would sire four children together, Phyllis, Darlene, John A. III, and Georga.
John’s ministerial duties would take his new family to Chattanooga in 1955. He served as a pastor for two area churches: Tiftonia Church of Christ and Eastdale Church of Christ, from 1955 to 1959. But he wouldn’t stay long, as a new ministerial opportunity opened in Rochester, NY, where he served from 1959 to 1962. Chattanooga beckoned the Cupp family once again at the end of ‘62, when he took on the pastoral duties for Tyner Church of Christ, as well as the St. Elmo Church of Christ. He would continue to serve as minister for these churches until 1980.
In addition to his ministerial duties, John began to actively participate in a number of other local organizations and institutions. He became the local PTA President at Bess T. Shepherd Elementary School from 1967 to 1969. From 1969 to 1971, he served as the new Sixth District PTA. And from 1967-1972, he served as a member of the State Board and State Chairman of Human Relations Committee.
John would also serve as a hospital chaplain for Memorial and Erlanger hospitals. From 1972 to 1975 he was the Assistant Director of Human Services at Memorial Hospital. And from 1974 to 1981, he was a member of the Chaplain‘s Advisory Staff at Erlanger Medical Center.
John‘s law enforcement career began at the Sheriff‘s Office in 1970, under Sheriff H.Q. Evatt. During this tenure, he would visit area schools, speaking to students about the dangers of drug addiction and trafficking.
In 1979, Sheriff Evatt promoted John to Director of Narcotics Information, where he would prove instrumental in the implentation of the D.A.R.E. Program. He was also appointed Consult to the U.S. Department of Education for the President‘s Drug-Free School Program, which evaluated 35 schools in 19 states on the effectiveness of their anti-drug policies and programs.
He was also instrumental in initiating the School Officer Resource Program, which started at Ooltewah High School, eventually spreading to other public schools in Hamilton County. This program installed law enforcement officers in schools, functioning as a mentor to students, as well as maintaining a command presence in safety situations.
In 1994, the current Sheriff H.Q. Evatt decided to retire. This prompted John to announce his desire to run as a Republican for the office of Sheriff of Hamilton County.
The newly elected Sheriff immediately set to work. One of his earliest successes was to have the West Side Annex (a former dilapidated K-Mart shopping center), converted into a proper Sheriff‘s facility.
Sheriff Cupp instituted a highly popular Domestic Violence Taskforce for Hamilton County. In 2002, Sheriff Cupp pushed for tougher methods of narcotic enforcement by creating the Hamilton County Meth Task Force.
He would also preside over a greatly desired shift-change for patrol officers, which changed the typical patrol shift from an 8-hour shift to 12-hours. This was enacted so that officers could actually have a Sunday off, twice a month.
In 2006, he ran for a fourth term but was defeated by another long-time employee of the Sheriff‘s Department, Billy Long. As of this writing, John remains active in ministry, and happily proclaims that he is "enjoying his retirement."Back to Past Sheriffs