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Published: January 12, 2021

Shelton Barnett was appointed as Lawrenceburg/Lawrence County Emergency Management Director in December 2020. Shelton replaces Joe Baxter who served in the position from 1990 until his retirement on December 31.

Barnett has been involved in local emergency management in various capacities since 1992, and he has been the Deputy Director of Emergency Management under Baxter since 2013.

“Shelton has worked closely with our former EMA Director Joe Baxter for several years and is definitely the most qualified person for the job,” said Lawrence County Executive T.R. Williams. “During the recent E911 outage, Shelton demonstrated extraordinary leadership skills as we worked with the various local agencies to get services restored. I’m looking forward to working with Shelton as the new EMA Director.

Barnett’s recognition as an emergency management professional reaches beyond the local level. He has been deployed with TEMA as a communications technician and logistics support on several occasions. In 2010, he received Tennessee’s Homeland Security Award, which today is known as the First Responder Award.

“Appointing Shelton to this position was a great pleasure because he has faithfully served Lawrenceburg and Lawrence County for many years, and no one is more qualified to be EMA Director,” Lawrenceburg Mayor Blake Lay said. “We are fortunate to have someone with Shelton’s passion and expertise. He is such an asset to this community, and I’m proud to work with him.”

Barnett is highly trained and serves as an instructor for TDOT on Traffic Incident Management, for TEMA on Incident Command, and Hazmat on Awareness and Operations. He also teaches multiple courses for FEMA on public information processes and procedures.

“It is my honor and privilege to pick up where my friend and colleague Joe Baxter left off in this dual role as the Lawrenceburg/Lawrence County EMA Director,” said Barnett. “Lawrence County is my home, and the residents are my neighbors and friends, and I’m dedicated to working with all the local emergency services teams to keep our home safe and out of harm’s way.”

In addition to his emergency services responsibilities, Barnett serves as the president of the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Deputy Association and has been a reserve deputy since 2008.

Learn more about Lawrenceburg/Lawrence County Emergency Management and get up-to-date local information at