One-time Tennessee “Trooper of the Year” Jerry Dean Watson forged a judge’s name to fix a speeding ticket, pleaded guilty to a felony, and resigned from the Tennessee Highway Patrol in 2001. Today he is back in uniform as a trooper patrolling the Knoxville area, reports the Tennessean. Gov. Phil Bredesen has ordered a sweeping review of the patrol, including background checks of the department’s 855 commissioned officers.
Watson admitted to a state investigator that he fixed the ticket of an employee of a Knoxville meat-packing firm that had been giving troopers gifts of meat for years. “What they told me is that in that file, there is an interview in which the allegation was made that ‘business as usual’ over there was fixing tickets of the employees of the company and so on and so forth,” Bredesen told The Tennessean. “If that kind of stuff happens, it is, in fact, illegal activity.”