15 Arrested in Local Park

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Fifteen men, all arrested at Tyson Park and charged with indecent exposure.

Volunteer TV's Whitney Daniel joins us with more on what police are doing to keep these public parks safe for you.

They're stepping up patrols, hoping an increased police presence will deter this group of individuals from meeting. A sting at IC King Park in Blount County back in June exposed six men using a public boat ramp for open homosexual solicitation. Now it's moved to Knoxville, and police say this isn't the first time.

"I think anytime a public place has been violated people feel concerned about going back there," city councilwoman Barbara Pelot said.

That's the problem police say they are having at Tyson Park after they arrested 15 males for indecent exposure.

"Folks aren't going to bring their families down there when they're subjected to these things, these types of activities," police Lt. Mark Presley said.

Knoxville police say this group has been gathering here, using the park as their meeting point.

"It's for families, for children and everything and for folks to come and enjoy, but when you're having illicit sexual activity like these folks are doing, in a public park, it takes away the family," Presley said.

"Of course parks are family venues... so I think it brings a lot of concerns," Pelot said.

Barbara Pelot has dealt with a similar situation five years ago at West Hills Park.

"We had an issue and unfortunately, it was reported by the children who lived in the home adjacent to the park," Pelot said.

Police say they've seen the same problems throughout the city.

"We put pressure on them in the other parks, such as Sharp's Ridge, Fort Dickerson places like that, they've moved down to an area that's harder for us to manage and for us to do surveillance on," Presley said.

This is what police say they're concerned about: males using the park as a place to meet sexual partners. We arrived attempting to talk to some folks but they left rather quickly. In the 20 minutes we spent there, we saw those same drivers again, passing through the park. One in particular, seven times.

"They move to the place where they think we're not looking or patrolling as intently," Presley said.

Now, with recent arrests, Tyson Park is at the top of the list.

"Our focus has been there, but we're just gonna make it a little more intense," Presley said.

Police say they will continue bike and walking patrols, as well as undercover stings to help push this problem out of the area.

Arrested were:

Roy Mize, 44, indecent exposure
Stanley Cox, 55, indecent exposure
Mitchell Garrett, 36, indecent exposure, possession of drug paraphernalia, simple possession
Bradford Oglesby, 37, indecent exposure
Dennis Sizemore, 33, disorderly conduct
James York, 33, indecent exposure
Lawrence Maynard, 47, indecent exposure, resisting arrest, assault
Albert Johnson, 48, indecent exposure
Charles McMillan, 49, indecent exposure
Patrick Porter, 62, indecent exposure
James Owens, 26, indecent exposure
Steven Shields, 35, indecent exposure, simple possession, drug paraphernalia
Willie Jefferson, 55, indecent exposure
Fred Peace, 45, indecent exposure
Jesse Williams, 45, indecent exposure