Watson to be sworn in as Bradley County Sheriff: what's next for - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Watson to be sworn in as Bradley County Sheriff: what's next for the department?

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CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB) - The day after the primary election Eric Watson is out in Bradley County, picking up his campaign signs. He says this is how it's going to be when he's in office. "I'm going to be working with the officers out on the streets," he says.

Watson gave up his District 22 seat in the State House of Representatives to get back to the Bradley County Sheriff's Office. He was there as an officer in 1991 and moved up the ranks to captain. In 2011 he resigned from the department.
At the time Sheriff Jim Ruth told Channel 3 Watson left because his role as a legislator took up too much time. Now Watson says it was all a political game.     
"I'm one of the 108 that's been replaced over the last 36 months due to political reasons," Watson explains.

Watson is looking to the future and changing the way the department runs. "The current administration added 12 new supervisors sine 2010, they have 59 supervisors out of 212 employees. If you do the math that's a supervisor for every two and a half employees. In my opinion that's way top heavy. In my administration I'm going to take those supervisors, they're going to be put on the street," Watson says.

He claims a rise in certain crimes and a decrease in arrests as major factors in his decision to run for sheriff.

"My next 30 days is putting a transition team together that we're going to create a team, a command staff that's going to get serious about solving the crime issues that we're having in Bradley County," says Watson.

Channel 3 reached out to Sheriff Jim Ruth,  but he declined to comment citing a long campaign and a much needed day of rest.

"Hey I appreciate what Jim Ruth has done for the last 30 years, look forward to meeting with him one day and talking about the future," Watson says.

Watson does not have an opponent in the August general election. He'll be sworn into office on Sept. 1.
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