By Ben Lawson
Although he counts law enforcement and security among his many interests, Captain Kent Hatcher did not take a direct route to his current post at the Sevier County Jail.
Initially working in a family business, Hatcher’s career in security took its first step when he went to work with his brother, who was supervisor of safety and security at Dollywood. The job was only part time, however, and his search for work in a similar field led him to the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department, where he started in 1981 and never looked back.
“Once I start something, I usually don’t stop,” he said.
While attending the police academy the following year, Hatcher performed a variety of jobs with the department, gaining experience in a little bit of everything. After graduating, he was called into the sheriff’s office, believing they simply intended to congratulate him. Instead, he was promoted.
“I kind of got Shanghaied into my current post,” he said.
When Hatcher first started with the department, the jail had only five employees. During his time as chief jailer, he’s seen the staff grow to 80. The extra personnel are necessary to deal with an ever increasing inmate population, which has steadily climbed as the county has grown.
More people mean more law enforcement, especially since the number of violent crimes is greater than ever.
“We have more people come through the jail than we would have dreamed of 30 years ago,” he said.
Hatcher handles administrative duties and maintains the standards of the facility, ensuring the jail and staff is fully prepared for any situation that arises. This includes maximizing the available space by making use of unused or unnecessary rooms, such as converting an extra office into a room to hold inmate church services and house a small library.
Outside of his current career, Hatcher maintains a variety of interests, from horses, to firearm instruction, to building armored vehicle models. He is particularly drawn to the latter, which he would like to turn into a full hobby shop one day. But that won’t be anytime soon.
“I’ll retire one of these years,” he said. “But not right now.”
Security a Passion for Captain
By Ben Lawson