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Motto not questioned in city building

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Plan to put similar plaque at courthouse deemed ‘political’

By Damon Lawrence

A simple suggestion was behind the Kingston Police Department’s decision to post the national motto “In God We Trust” at its office in the new city hall building.

“We put that here when we moved in,” Chief Jim Washam said.

“(Councilman) Norm (Sugarman) had the idea. We asked around, and everybody was for it and thought it would be a good thing for our new building.”

The department moved into the new city hall building at Ladd Landing in June of last year. “In God We Trust” is posted at the door to the police offices.  

“I think it’s not only good for the public when they come in and see it, but it also reminds the officers that they’re coming in to do a job and to be respectful,” Washam said. “‘In God We Trust.’ We put our lives in His hands every time we go out.”      

Washam said the motto wasn’t on display at the department’s old office building on Cumberland Street. He said no one has complained about the motto being on display at the new building.

“Nobody’s ever questioned it,” he said. “If somebody questioned it, I guess it would come back on the council with it being a city building, but it will be left up there until we are told to take it down.”

Roane County Commissioner Randy Ellis recently spearheaded an effort to post “In God We Trust” in the commission meeting room and at the main entrance of the courthouse.

The commission voted 8-7 to defer the matter to its property committee.

Ellis said church members and clergy asked him to file the resolution.
One of his colleagues, Commissioner Stanley Moore, accused Ellis of introducing the resolution for political reasons.