By Sam Stockard
The Murfreesboro Post
Despite being restricted to travel in Middle Tennessee as part of his bond requirements, indicted Sheriff Robert Arnold is logging a number of miles this summer. But he has approval to make long-distance trips, according to his legal counsel.
"He's in compliance with those restrictions, and he will continue to remain in compliance," said his attorney, Tom Dundon of Neal & Harwell in Nashville.
Arnold attended a 21st Century Policing Briefing in Washington, D.C., Aug. 10 at the invitation of the White House Office of Public Engagement, just a couple of weeks after going to a Tennessee Sheriffs Association Conference in Gatlinburg. He is also going on a trip to Orlando, Fla., this week to attend an APCO International seminar dealing with public safety communications.
Dundon confirmed that Arnold obtained approval from Pretrial Services, which monitors probation, parole and bond restrictions in federal cases. Pretrial Services documents are not public records, and the agency is not allowed to speak with the media.
U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Dave Boling said attorneys prosecuting Arnold's case were not aware of his travel.
The sheriff, who faces 14 felony counts stemming from an alleged e-cigarettes scheme at the county jail, is under a $250,000 non-secured bond and is under several restrictions, including travel outside the country and Middle Tennessee.
The Department of Justice doesn't monitor whether Arnold follows the bond restrictions, according to Boling, who could not say whether the magistrate who set the bond approved Arnold's travel.
Arnold spent nearly $800 - not including travel and lodging - going to the White House event, which focused on the best police methods for reducing crime while building public trust. Much of the presentation dealt with building community rapport, according to the sheriff's office.
"We have already reached out to our community in many programs but will strive to have our community better involved with the sheriff's office," Arnold said in a statement. "We will also use social media to inform our residents about sheriff's office events."
The sheriff previously spent $1,400 traveling to the sheriffs association event in Sevierville, according to county records, and received a $259 advance for meals and incidentals to go to Orlando. He would turn in travel and lodging expenses later.
Read the entire story in the Murfreesboro Post HERE.