Top Cops Worry About Violence from Strikers

Kingston, Roane County (WVLT) – The heads of several area law enforcement agencies met earlier this week to discuss concerns of an alleged increase violence associated with strikers at the Maremont plant in Loudon.

The Loudon County Sheriff, Loudon and Lenoir City Police Chiefs, Roane County Sheriff, the Captain of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the District Attorney General addressed the issue on Tuesday.

As part of the meeting, information was shared about alleged incidents of strike-related violence in Loudon, Roane, Monroe and McMinn Counties where reports have been made of damage and vandalism to property belonging to people who are currently working at Maremont during the strike.

Discussion also centered on the stepped up measures THP and LPD were taking to monitor the traffic in and out of Maremont.

Loudon Police Chief Webb told the group about a transformer and an electric power switch located on Maremont property that were destroyed, probably with shots from a high-powered rifle, and about his concern for further disruption of utility service that might effect an area greater than just the Maremont plant.

The group expressed a collective concern about an escalation in violence that might cause further damage to property and the possibility of harm to individuals on either side of the dispute.

The group issued a joint statement that states:

“While we are sympathetic to the fact that many of our friends and neighbors who are part of the Loudon Community have, at least temporarily, lost their jobs and livelihoods, we as the heads of law enforcement do not want to see violence that may result in people being hurt or even worse. We also do not want to see the citizen taxpayers of the community have to pay for damage to public utility property. As law enforcement officials we obviously must remain neutral on the outcome of this dispute, but we will take the necessary steps to keep the peace, to protect individual property and lives and to keep order in the community of Loudon and the surrounding areas where strikers and workers live. However, we do encourage the ownership of Maremont and the labor union to negotiate fairly and in good faith with one another to bring about a quick and mutually agreeable resolution to this labor dispute.”

In order to help keep the peace and to better investigate any criminal or suspicious activity – by either side of this labor dispute – we are establishing a confidential tip line that will be monitored by the Loudon Police Department, which is the lead agency in this matter.

That number is (865) 988- 6826. Please call this number if you have any information that would be helpful in investigating or preventing any illegal or violent activity related to this ongoing dispute.

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