Rutherford County sheriff candidate Dale Armour’s law enforcement career has been exemplary by any standard.
He’s a former Murfreesboro Police officer, Tennessee Highway special investigator and 2005 TBI Agent of the Year now serving on an FBI Violent Crimes Task Force.
But his law enforcement work took a strange twist two years ago when a traffic stop he made “went viral.”
Armour was the so-called “imposter” TBI agent who stopped a woman on North Thompson Lane when she ran him off the road, then he had to cope with allegations that he cussed her out. Armour contends he never cursed the woman during what was only a 90-second stop, then the TBI mishandled the case and never allowed him to speak publicly or contact the woman.
“It got to be such a media nightmare. … I didn’t know why,” said Armour, who is running as an independent in the sheriff race. “They said it was because I scared her.”
Armour contends the woman’s initial complaint did not state that he cursed her, but that each time she was interviewed about the incident, it got worse.
The matter got to be “such a hotbed,” he said, that when he completed FBI training, he left the TBI for an FBI Violent Crimes Task Force. He is taking an extended vacation to run for sheriff in the Aug. 7 election.
The incident happened in June 2012, he said, when he was going home one evening after coaching a 4-H rifle team that advanced to a national competition.
He was driving down North Thompson Lane in his TBI-issued Jeep when a woman ran him and another motorist off the road, he said. Armour explained that he flipped on his blue lights and pulled over a driver who might be impaired.
When he saw that the woman wasn’t impaired, he said he explained to her why he stopped her, then showed her his badge when she asked if he was a law officer.
“I didn’t even ask her for an ID,” he said.
His biggest concern, he explained was that he pulled over a woman in a dark, empty Quik Sak parking lot. He thought little of it until a day or two later when he heard about television reports that a TBI “imposter” driving an unmarked Jeep had pulled over a woman in Murfreesboro.
“It was one of those weird incidents that just grew and grew,” he said.
Armour said he told his supervisor about the traffic stop and asked why information was released to the media before anyone asked him about the incident. One mistake he acknowledges making was that he didn’t notify Murfreesboro Police.
During the ordeal, Armour said, he wasn’t allowed to speak to the media or to the woman. He later sent her a card apologizing if he frightened her.
Armour is open to speaking about the incident and posted a letter about it on his website at www.DaleArmour.com, but he doesn’t want it to define his 34-year career.
The TBI Agent of the Year in 2005, Armour was a Murfreesboro Police officer from 1979-986, then worked as a Tennessee Highway Patrol special investigator for 10 years. He took a post with TBI in 1996, then switched to the FBI violent Crimes Task Force in 2012.
A 1978 graduate of Oakland, he holds an associate’s degree from MTSU and bachelor’s degree from the University of New York. He and his wife, Cindy, have three children and two grandchildren.
Armour is running in a crowded field. The Republican primary pits Sheriff Robert Arnold against former sheriff’s Detective Ralph Mayercik and former Chief Deputy Bob Asbury. Former SRO Capt. Bill Kennedy is running as a Democrat, while former Detective Jim Tramel is running as an independent.
Armour said he opted to run as an independent because he believes the sheriff’s office should hold no political affiliation.
“I strongly encourage every citizen to take a look at all of the candidates in this race,” he states on his website. “I encourage you to look at their experience and look at what they stand for. In doing this, I am confident that you will see that I am the most qualified candidate for this race.”
Armour said he will use his 30-plus years of law enforcement to make Rutherford County a safer place.
“The people of Rutherford County deserve a sheriff who will run the sheriff’s office fairly, efficiently and ethically,” he stated.
If elected, he wants to return deputy patrols to unincorporated areas in Rutherford County and provide guidance for better training and leadership within the department, he said.
As the former head of the state’s Sexual Offender Registry, Armour believes “better tabs” need to be kept on child predators. He also served on the TBI Drug Investigation Division when it disrupted two gangs, including the Vice Lords, and solved four homicides. And, he’s led numerous arrests by the Violent Crimes Task Force without any injuries to agents.
His goal is to transform the sheriff’s office, and he believes the foundation is already in place.
“I would like for us to have a professional sheriff’s department that’s head and shoulders above the rest of the state,” he said.