Deputies claim transfers are retaliation

JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) - Madison County deputies say the local sheriff is retaliating against union organizers and those who opposed him in county elections by transferring them to jail duty.

The complaints were made public last week after the Jackson Patrol Officers Union sent a letter to county commissioners regarding Sheriff David Woolfork's conduct.

"Ever since the (2006 county) elections, he has transferred deputies who not only supported others in the election, but who voted against him. Now he's trying to usher them out of the door," said Myron Holt, president of the Jackson Patrol Officers Union and an officer with the Jackson Police Department.

Woolfork defended his actions. "As chief law enforcement officer, I have the right to transfer any officer anywhere I feel that they are needed," he said. "We have no permanent job assignments at the Sheriff's Department. They're interchangeable."

He also said he does not recognize the union, which is part of the International Union of Police Associations. The local chapter was created in 2002 and deputies joined in the summer of 2006 around the time of the county elections, Holt said. The County Commission has not yet responded to the letter.

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