Sheriff Mike Neal: Promises made, Promises kept

Sheriff Mike Neal (photo contributed)

When Sheriff Mike Neal was first elected in 2002, he promised Rhea County that he would put families first, never forget our aging population, and create an Animal Shelter that provides safe and humane care.

Neal wasted no time in keeping these promises.  At the helm of the Rhea County Sheriff’s Department, Neal quickly created a host of programs that has grown by leaps and bounds ever since.

Neal, slow to take credit, says he’s grateful for the trust in which the Rhea County community placed in him, being blessed with a first class team of law enforcement officers, and the countless volunteers who helped put these plans into action.

“Everything is changing with the times, but if we didn’t have the support from community volunteers, this department couldn’t do half the things that it does now,” Neal insists.

“All my staff and employees at the sheriff’s department wear multiple hats and do more jobs than they can actually do in a day’s time because of the responsibilities that they have to keep this community safe.”

SCAN (Senior Citizens Awareness Network), Homeland Security, and the Animal Shelter were promises made and promises kept since Sheriff Mike Neal was first elected in 2002.

The SCAN Network now checks up on over 100 seniors each month through donations from the private sector and the many volunteers who share the Sheriff’s love for our aging population.

The creation of RCSD’s Homeland Security team was a response to the tragic events of September 11, 2001.  The highly trained force of volunteers now provides invaluable crowd and traffic control during Rhea County’s largest events such as the Strawberry Festival, but always stand at the ready when disaster strikes.

Not to be outdone, the Rhea County Animal Shelter is now adopting out animals at numbers surpassing 1,000 per year with euthanasia all but a thing of the past for sheltered animals.

And sheriff’s love for children and Rhea County families is on display every Christmas through his signature “Toys for Kids” program.  With humble beginnings in 2003, the program has grown with support from the private sector to give over 1,000 Rhea County kids a Merry Christmas with a new bicycle and plenty of toys.

“We’ve continued to expand these programs to what they are today,” Neal insists but adds none of these would be possible without the community’s trust and support of which he’ll always be grateful.

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