Trooper resigns in lieu of termination
Tennessee Highway Patrol Sergeant James Sells has resigned in lieu of termination following an internal investigation by the agencyâ€™s Inspectional Services Bureau. The investigation stemmed from allegations that Sgt. Sells had violated Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security policies and procedures.
The internal investigation revealed that Sgt. Sells misused state property and equipment, was negligent in the performance of his duties, and violated the departmentâ€™s rule on conduct unbecoming, specifically engaging in sexual activity while on duty. Colonel Tracy Trott then recommended Sgt. Sellsâ€™ dismissal based on the procedural violations and facts of the case.
â€śTennessee State Troopers are held to a higher standard of conduct. Sgt. Sellsâ€™ actions have violated the trust of the department and the citizens of Tennessee. We will not tolerate any act that will cast doubt upon the credibility of the Tennessee Highway Patrol,â€ť Colonel Trott said.
Sgt. Sells, 45, began his career as a State Trooper in August of 1998. He was initially assigned to Overton County as a Road Trooper. Sgt. Sells later served as trooper and sergeant in Pickett, Overton and Fentress Counties, respectively. His most recent assignment was as a sergeant in the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) in Putnam County.
Sgt. Sells was initially placed on discretionary leave with pay on October 2, 2012, pending the internal investigation. His resignation is effective October 25, 2012.
As a result of Sellsâ€™ resignation, he has forfeited his right to appeal this decision.
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Securityâ€™s (www.TN.Gov/safety) mission is to ensure the safety and general welfare of the public. The department encompasses the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the Office of Homeland Security and Driver License Services. General areas of responsibility include law enforcement, safety education, motorist services and terrorism prevention.