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Press Release

HCSO Hosts Joint Press Conference with Local Judicial and HCDE Officials


Hamilton County, TN – Yesterday morning, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office hosted a joint press conference at the Juvenile Justice Center to address a recent spike in threats made by young people on various social media platforms in our community. Many of these recent incidents have resulted in charges against those who perpetrated the threat.

Sheriff Jim Hammond, Juvenile Judge Robert Philyaw, District Attorney Neal Pinkston, Juvenile Court Clerk Gary Behler, HCDE Chief Operations Officer Kenneth Bradshaw, and HCDE Campus Support Specialist Bradley Jackson along with members of the HCSO Youth and Community Division and Criminal Investigations Division stood in solidarity noting that children, including teens and adults, who are caught using social media to threaten the lives of others or our schools will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

In many of the recent cases, all of the threats investigated were brought to the attention of law enforcement, parents, and authority figures by young people signifying the ever growing importance of “See Something, Say Something.”

“As we approach the holidays, the HCSO and our partners want to remind parents to take the time to review their children’s online activity,” stated Sheriff Jim Hammond. “Be clear and let them know that threatening others through social media is wrong and will not be tolerated,” he noted.

In the last two weeks, several threats were made by juveniles that have been investigated by law enforcement which were found to be non-credible. Any and all threats received must be investigated and treated as credible until otherwise determined. Fortunately, all threats investigated have proved to be non-credible and none of the juveniles involved had access to any weapons.

In closing, judicial representatives and law enforcement personnel offered tips to help parents monitor their children’s social media activity and encouraged them to learn more about the negative effects of social media. They also stressed the importance of parents routinely monitoring what applications and social media platforms their children are using in order to keep them safe. This includes limiting a child’s access to the internet when parents are not available to verify their activity, restricting phones and tablets where children have initiated passcodes to keep parents from gaining accessing to their private information, and reviewing all social media pages routinely.

Parents can find more information about social media safety by visiting www.netsmartz.org.

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Phone: (423) 209-7000