Booted safety commissioner contemplating run for state legislature

| 1/27/2006

A recent fall from grace doesn’t seem to have dampened the spirits of the former Tennessee state safety commissioner.

Fred Phillips – who on Dec. 9, 2005, resigned from his position after an investigation by The Tennessean uncovered a number of Tennessee Highway Patrol officers with criminal backgrounds – is considering a run at a spot on the state legislature, the Johnson City Press reported.

Although Phillips – a Washington County native – has not officially announced his intentions or whether he will run for the senate or house, the Northeast Tennessee Democratic Association voted unanimously to endorse him as a candidate, The Tennessean reported.

The criminal background investigation was the first in a string of scandals in Tennessee’s state and local police forces, which have been repeatedly reported by The Tennessean.

The newspaper has uncovered more than a dozen incidents, with allegations ranging from sexual misconduct to high-level cronyism throughout the state’s police force and various levels of government.