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Sheriff Jim Hammond stands by his calls on behalf of friend

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN. (Times Free Press) -- A Hamilton County Sheriff's Office policy says employees "shall avoid associations or dealing with persons whom they know are under criminal investigation or criminal indictment."

But Sheriff Jim Hammond said Friday that following the policy, which he approved in 2010, is almost impossible because law enforcement officers must regularly associate with current and former criminals, some of whom are informants or may have information on committed crimes.

Hammond's assessment was part of his response to a question about whether he violated that policy by making calls on behalf of Lonnie Hood, a former deputy charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest by the Chattanooga Police Department last New Year's Eve.

"I'm not going to do anything that's criminal," Hammond said Friday. "I like to give people a helping hand up."

Read more on the story from our news partners at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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