His official job title is “Facility Compliance Officer.” He works at the relatively new Loudon County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) Corrections Facility …. aka the jail. When you realize exactly what this young man is responsible for, perhaps a more fitting title would be the “Doctor of Documentation.”
Sgt. Tristan Kyle Goins of the LCSO Jail Division is the man who manages and makes certain that every aspect of the facility is up to snuff and complies with the Tennessee Corrections Institute (TCI) 450 jail standards. The standards deal with the categories of inmate supervision, prisoner admissions and releases, hygiene, sanitation, maintenance and food services. It is his responsibility to assure the LCSO jail is meeting the standards. His work world is all about documentation.
The TCI is responsible for educating local correctional staff while providing and monitoring basic certification and annual in-service training for personnel within every local adult correctional detention facility statewide to attain or continue with the facility’s accreditation and certification. “If it’s a jail,” Goins said, “they inspect it. And their inspections are random. We never know when they will show up.”
Goins’ work is tedious and never ends. It’s a job many in law enforcement probably would not enjoy – but he does. His law enforcement career began in January 2018 at the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office Corrections Division. He worked a variety of different areas within the Corrections Division and was eventually promoted to sergeant. After four years, he left the Bradley County department and was hired by the LCSO in April 2022.
This career change really began when he was a student in 2016 at Hiwassee College (he was a pitcher on the baseball team). One day he crossed paths with a young lady named Hayley Kennedy. Four years later, they tied the marriage knot. She is an attorney in private practice and they have a son, Easton, who is now 4. Her office is in Loudon and she did not want to move to Cleveland. So, he moved.
Goins, 26, had planned to be a teacher and coach in high school. But he has two uncles in the law enforcement profession who convinced him otherwise – Sgt. Dennis Goins at the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office and Sgt. Chris Jacques at the Cleveland Police Department.
Working together, they both talked him into the law enforcement career that he now loves. “They explained how much you can impact peoples’ lives in law enforcement and that is important to me, to help people however I can,” Goins said. “And every day in the jail environment I have an impact on lives. Our inmates need someone to add structure to their lives and I try to do that. We all do here.”
The LCSO jail today houses approximately around 170 inmates – 140 men and between 30 and 35 women. The jail’s 48 corrections officers are spread through three shifts. Goins and three other administrative staff members complete the staff of 52.
“Everything we do inside the jail we document in chronological order,” he explained. “Using an irregular schedule, we do walk throughs in the cells to check on the inmates every 59 minutes, 24/7/365, and every walk-through has to be logged and documented.”
He also manages the kitchen standards to assure food safety, checking the temperatures of the refrigerators and freezers. Inmates get three meals a day and inmates do the cooking supervised by two staff members. “Come have a meal with us,” Goins said. “It’s the best jail food I’ve ever had.”
Goins begins his shift at 6 a.m. and is supposed to be off at 2 p.m. “When I’m done, I usually help out with shift work, especially if we are short staffed due to someone being in court. I help with inmate bookings and releases and I can cover a post and do what they need.”
The hardest part of his job, he says, is learning how to deal with each person’s personality – both staff and inmates. “This environment in a jail creates drama. Each individual is different and every situation is different. I have to document any use of force incidents, any injuries and the outcomes of disputes,” Goins said.
That process usually includes conversations with inmates. He enjoys the opportunities. “I sit down with them and explain whatever the issue is and let them know I’m somebody who is there to help them, to provide them a safe environment and that they can talk to me when they need to talk. I’m good at that, too – I do have the gift of gab.”
The best part of his job? “It’s being on the outside and seeing a former inmate who comes up and says hello and says he or she has been clean and straight for a long time. That’s a good feeling and you’re happy for them.”
At some point he would like to experience other jobs within the LCSO. “But hey, I won’t ever push the issue. This is a great place and family to work with every day. We spend a lot of time here. I’ll work wherever the sheriff tells me to work.”
LCSO Sheriff Jimmy Davis holds Goins in high regard. “He is not only a phenomenal employee, but he’s a phenomenal person. His dedication to this profession, the community and to his family is unmatched. Kyle is an example of how we all should carry ourselves. We are proud to have him on our team and blessed to work with him.”
Tom King has been the editor of newspapers in Texas and California and also worked in Tennessee and Georgia. If you have someone you think we should consider featuring, please email him at the link with his name.