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71-year-old great-grandmother campaigning for police chief spot

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Posted: Aug 20, 2014 10:04 PM by Trey Schmaltz
Updated: Aug 20, 2014 10:04 PM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: sorrento, campaign, police chief, government, politics, Trey Schmaltz

SORRENTO- A 71-year-old great-grandmother has entered the race for police chief in this small town.

Fern Barnett, who had been a clerk for the city and the department, qualified for the election on the first day candidates could sign up. By Wednesday evening, she was the only person listed as having signed up. Qualifying ends on Friday.

"Different things have been happening and I felt like people in town are not getting a fair chance to make an intelligent decision [about keeping the police department]," Barnett told WBRZ News 2 Wednesday evening. "I wanted to give them that chance."

This summer, the town council effectively closed the department by not funding it. Tuesday, they fired the interim police chief.

Barnett said she knew Earl Theriot, the former police chief who quit amid a sex scandal, and was shocked by what has unfolded in the last year. "I was very upset," she said, adding she was disappointed in Theriot. "But, whatever happens, happens," she said shrugging off the previous issues and focusing on the future.

"I think closing the department makes the town go backwards and we should be moving forward."

Barnett has nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Voters will decide in November if they want to officially disband the force. They would also have to decide on if Barnett- or another candidate- should serve the rest of Theriot's term.
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