The fallout from scandals within the Tennessee Highway
Patrol continued this week, as several high-ranking officials were demoted.
Col. Mike Walker, the highest uniformed officer within the
patrol, demoted four of his captains Monday, May 1, in what he referred to as “a management decision.”
The four captains, according to Nashville newspaper The
- Charles Laxton, who had made sizeable donations to the
governor’s election campaign;
- Joe A. Nunn, who has been accused of failure to reprimand
troopers who may have been drinking while on duty;
- Lucious E. Howard, who listed a state Senator as a
reference when he applied to work for the patrol; and
- Glenn A. Cantwell, who has been accused of submitting
Walker replaced former patrol Col. Lynn Pitts, who resigned
amidst growing accusations of cronyism and criminal histories within the
patrol. Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen appointed Walker in hopes of cleaning up
the organization’s ranks, The Tennessean reported.
The patrol has been embroiled in controversy after dozens of
incidents were revealed in Tennessee’s state and local police forces, most of
which stem from an ongoing investigation by The Tennessean. The
newspaper has uncovered allegations ranging from sexual misconduct to
high-level cronyism throughout the state’s police force and various levels of
All four of the demoted captains have been mentioned in The
Tennessean as possible sources of cronyism or corruption.