By Ben Lawson
Throughout his 30 years in law enforcement, Chief Larry McMahan has worn a lot of different hats. None has been more challenging than running the Sevier County Jail, and that’s just the way he likes it.
McMahan has always loved a challenge and it shows. He’s served as a patrol captain, a detective captain and even graduated from the FBI academy which trains local law enforcement, where he was ribbed for being one of the only southerners in the program.
“It was the best time of my life,” he said.
Back in Sevier County, he was promoted to deputy chief of the jail by Sheriff Ron Seals, with whom he’s served throughout his long career. Overseeing administration, he has to deal with two facilities, 80 employees and 500 inmates.
“People don’t realize how many inmates are in Sevier County,” he said.
Part of his day-to-day job involves freeing up room for new intakes by shuffling people around, dealing with inmate issues and working with the personnel.
He said the human-factor is much more than what people see on TV. This all adds up to make his current post “the toughest job of (his) career.”
That doesn’t mean he would trade it for anything, however. Having been taught by his father the value of taking care of people, he saw law enforcement as a natural fit and has never looked back.
The job requires tough skin, but he said the good always wins out in the end.
Although he said working in the jail can sometimes be “a blessing or a curse,” he doesn’t want to be anywhere else. He enjoys working with the jail employees, who are often overlooked in law enforcement.
“These people need to be appreciated,” he said.
Sheriff Deputies are just like everyone else, after all. This was made especially clear to McMahan while attending a class by Peter Cope on how to talk to fellow officers about the stress of both their jobs and personal lives.
In spite of what can be a stressful and taxing career, McMahan has kept his sense of humor about the job.
“I’m just here to make sure the roof doesn’t leak,” he said.
... read the rest of the story by Subscribing now.