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‘Walking Tall’ constable falls short

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By Damon Lawrence

Being a deadbeat dad caught up to Mark Patton.
The former constable is in the McMinn County jail for failing to pay child support.
Patton has a daughter by a McMinn County woman.
He’s being held on a $22,583 cash bond.
Getting out of child support arrears could be difficult for Patton.
He indicated he was broke in an affidavit of indigency filed in Roane County Criminal Court in August 2009.
The affidavit said he was unemployed and receiving $400 a month in food stamps.
Patton used to tote a big stick during his time as a Roane County constable and once boasted that it was all the backup he needed.
His shtick — and accusations that he was harassing local officers — drew the ire of local officials.
“Mark Patton is certainly no Buford Pusser and Roane County is not a stage for Walking Tall,” District Attorney General Russell Johnson wrote about Patton in 2007.
Johnson and Roane County Attorney Tom McFarland filed an ouster suit against Patton in January 2009.
Patton was removed from office later that year after Circuit Court Judge Russell Simmons Jr. determined he committed numerous acts of misconduct during his tenure as constable.
Last year, Roane Countians voted to abolish the office of constable in large part over the uproar over accusations involving Patton.