Bradley County Sheriff Jim Ruth continues to recovery from a recent illness and hospital stay.
The Tennessee POST (Peace Officers Standards Training ) Commission has been notified of his absence and medical leave.
According to Bob Gault, media relations coordinator for the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, “Basically anytime an officer’s change in status, the POST Commission has to be notified within 15 days. That was lowered from 30 days recently.”
Gault said the commission was notified Friday of Ruth’s status.
“If an officer or deputy changes status such as job description, resignation or even an acceptance to FBI Academy where he or she may be out of service, but still active, the POST Commission has to be notified. This also includes medical leave. The sheriff is not de-certified. We have notified POST explaining his status and will notify POST when he comes back,” Gault said.
In Ruth’s absence, Chief Deputy Wayne Bird is continuing to do his job — day-to-day operations at the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office.
“Any time the sheriff is on vacation, training out of town or just generally out of the office, Wayne is the No. 2 man and assumes the responsibilities of operations,” Gault said.
Tennessee Code Annotated provides, “In the event that the office of sheriff becomes vacant due to death, resignation, incapacity, or other causes, the duties of the office shall be temporarily discharged by the chief deputy or administrative assistant or other highest ranking member of the sheriff's office until the sheriff is able to reassume his office or until the county legislative body appoints a successor.”
In this week’s Sheriff’s column, Ruth talked about his recent illness and the recovery process.
On May 30, while attending a special FBI training class in Nashville while at the Tennessee Sheriff’s Association, Ruth began experiencing dizziness and other issues.
Doctors at Tri-Star Summit Medical Center in Hermitage diagnosed him with atrial fibrillation.
Officials explained the illness causes “tiny blood clots resulting in stroke-like symptoms.
Ruth confirmed in this week’s article that he has been transferred to Life Care Center in Collegedale to undergo rehabilitation therapy.
He outlined all issues he has had since his episode.
Ruth explained he “had experienced brain stem stroke.”
The sheriff has experienced difficulty with his speech, double-vision and trouble swallowing.
During a Saturday interview via phone, Ruth was working hard doing exercises.
“I was hoping to be released this weekend, but we found out that they (Life Care) doesn’t do that on the weekends,” Ruth said.
“We are confident that I will be released Monday or at least early this week,” he added.
“I once again want to thank everyone for their concerns, prayers, letters and cards,” Ruth said.