Four captains demoted in ongoing Tennessee Highway Patrol shakeup

| 5/2/2006

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 Tennessean, were:

  • 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 inaccurate timesheets.

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 government.

All four of the demoted captains have been mentioned in The Tennessean as possible sources of cronyism or corruption.