Bob Barker 1955-2010

On Tuesday, August 17th, I lost a very good friend. Sumner County Sheriff Bob Barker died at his home in Gallatin, Tennessee. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer five weeks ago. Sheriff Barker was 55 years old.

For the last two years, I have been traveling the state meeting with members of Tennessee’s law enforcement community. I have had the privilege of meeting some of the most talented, dedicated, and professional men and women who literally put their lives on the line every day keeping our communities safe. Sheriff Barker was the epitome of a talented, dedicated, and professional law enforcement official. He loved his job. He loved his family. And he truly loved people, including those who resided in his jail.

Sheriff Barker fought for justice with a heart that was tempered with mercy. In conversations, he often shared with me his belief that people who make bad decisions should be held accountable but that they should also be given the opportunity to learn to make better decisions once they leave the jail.  And, he shared his concern about the struggle of those with mental illness who are constantly in and out of  jails around this state because they are not getting treatment. He was firm in his belief  that an individual who suffers from the most severe forms of mental illness and commits a murder should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law but not executed.

On behalf of the staff of TADP and our Board of Directors, our heartfelt thanks to Sheriff Barker for the openness that he showed us and the support he gave us. We extend our sincerest condolences to the entire Barker family. Our love and prayers surround you. And from the bottom of my heart thank you, Sheriff Barker, for your friendship to me. It was and will always be an honor that I will carry all my days.

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