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Madison County Sheriff Retires After Suspension

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(Jackson, TN) The Sheriff of Madison County, TN was temporarily suspended Wednesday.

Shortly after the suspension was announced, Sheriff David Woolfork turned in his resignation.

Two sexual harassment claims against Woolfork were recently settled.

A lawsuit has been filed to remove Woolfork from office before his term expires.

Two Madison County Sheriff’s Office employees are receiving checks after they said Sheriff David Woolfork sexually harassed them.

Lt. Lisa Balderrama’s claim was settled for $130,000.

The Jackson Sun reports Balderrama said she had an on and off relationship with the sheriff and received job advancement due to that relationship. She also said on three occasions, he physically assaulted her.

Deputy Sharon Sangster’s claim was settled for $210,000, and she will stay on paid administrative leave until the Sheriff leaves office in September.

Sangster said she was at home in December, 2012, when Woolfork banged on the door and ordered her to let him in.

She said he grabbed her and said he wanted to get back together and have sex.

Sangster says Woolfork had been drinking, and when her married boss went outside to urinate, she called for help.

Due to insurance, taxpayers will pay a $1,000 deductible on the two payments.

The settlement saves the county attorney fees as well as other possible damages.

Resignation Letter:

February 5, 2014

RE:  Retirement

To the citizens of Jackson-Madison County, it is with mixed emotions that I submit this letter of retirement.  It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the citizens of Madison County as your sheriff for almost 20 years.

I have been a law enforcement officer for the past 42 years, spending the last 36 years here in Madison County.  In 1972-1977, I served with the Humboldt Police Department.

In November 1977, I began my employment with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy. In 1982, I was promoted to sergeant in the patrol division, and later in the same year, reassigned to the Criminal Investigations Division.

I was first elected to the office of sheriff in Madison County in 1994;

Re-elected again unopposed in 1998; re-elected in 2002; re-elected in 2006; and re-elected for a 5th term in 2010.

In 2002, I was elected by my peers to serve as the President of the TN Sheriffs’ Association.

Under my leadership we changed the image of the sheriff’s office in a positive way:

  • In 1998, built the J. Alexander Leech Criminal Justice Complex after over 20 years of debating the proposal of building a new jail;
  • Hiring over 100 officers to work the jail in corrections;
  • Of the 232 budgeted employees, I hired all but 21;
  • Increased court security;
  • Assigned the first School Resource Officers (SRO) to work within the school system;
  • Increased the staffing of the Criminal Investigations Division by creating a violent crimes unit and property crimes unit in that division;
  • Increased the Metro Narcotics Unit; and
  • Increased the Patrol Division.

My goal since first elected in 1994, has always been to leave the Madison County Sheriff’s Office better than I found it.  With the help of a very professional staff, I believe we have accomplished that.

Respectfully submitted,

David L. Woolfork

Madison County Sheriff

xc:  Tony White, Director of Personnel


  • Nonya Bidness

    And my bet is they keep their jobs even though they were probably in clear violation of fraternization policy. All three of them need to be fired to restore confidence in the office.

  • Lorrie Douglass (@Mollies_Nana)

    His resignation letter should have simply consisted of the first paragraph… after that, he simply embarrassed himself by trying to shine the spotlight on all the wonderful things he has done, in an attempt to make people forget exactly why it is that he is resigning in the first place. He is an embarrassment to the city/county of Jackson/Madison Co.

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