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Nashville Sheriff Reveals Johnny Cash Became A Deputy In 1979

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CBS) — Nashville’s sheriff says there’s proof that Johnny Cash was granted law enforcement authority four decades ago. At th...

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CBS) -- Nashville's sheriff says there's proof that Johnny Cash was granted law enforcement authority four decades ago.

At the Johnny Cash Museum this week, Nashville Sheriff Daron Hall unveiled a blown-up image of the late musician's September 1979 deputy sheriff commission card, issued by then-Davidson County Sheriff Fate Thomas, featuring Cash's headshot, fingerprint and signature.

Hall says one of his photographers discovered the card in a box.

According to CBS affiliate WTVF, Johnny Cash's Davidson County Deputy Sheriff Commission Card gave Cash arrest power:

"By virtue of the power vested in me as Sheriff of Davidson County under the laws of Tennessee, I have this day deputized John R. Cash a Deputy Sheriff to execute any and all processes that may come into his hands and to maintain the peace and dignity of the State, and arrest any and all persons violating the Criminal laws of the State of Tennessee."

Hall says he doesn't have evidence of what the deputy work entailed, but Cash believed in prison reform and criminal justice reform.

WTVF notes that 1979 was a big year for Cash in his music career with the recording of "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky."

Cash, a "world-renowned singer/songwriter of country music" known for his "deep, rich voice and often dark, often uplifting lyrics," was born in Kingsland but raised in Dyess, according to the Encylopedia of Arkansas History and Culture.

The Clinton House Museum recently featured a special photography exhibit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Cash's landmark concert at the Folsom Prison in California.