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More patrols, less supervisors for Bradley County Sheriff's Office

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BRADLEY COUNTY, TN (WRCB) - The new Bradley County Sheriff says he did a complete flip of the department's structure once he took office. The department now does not have a single major, corporal, director or assistant director. 

Instead, he added positions that put more patrol cars on the streets.

Even supervising positions that did not get cut are spending more time out on the road. Lt. Wayne White has been working at the Bradley County Sheriff's Office and he says the recent changes are for the best.

"Just to get some of the people off the streets that don't need to be there," Lt. Wayne White said, "Make it a better, safer place to live."
    
Just minutes after Lt. White hit the road, he got a call from another patrol car asking for backup.

"When you get into a bad situation you want your backup to be as close as possible," Lt. White said.
    
Assisting other patrol cars became easier to do starting September 1st. That's when Sheriff Eric Watson took office and restructured the entire department.

"We've never had 19 uniform people that could respond to a call ever in the history of the Bradley County Sheriff's Office," said Sheriff Eric Watson.

Sheriff Watson started by reducing several administrative and supervising positions. In June 2014 there were 59 supervisors, and in September 2014 there is now 34.

That saved $863,000 compared to last year's budget. Watson used that money to hire 19 new positions and replace five retiree positions.

Along with other shifts in employee structures, including the reduction of command staff from 12 employees to 7, the total number of employees in September is 217. In June, the total number of employees was 198.

"People asked, how did you do that? We restructured the top heavy management and put that resource to the bottom."
   
Many of the employees who lost their position either retired or was re-assigned.
  
Watson said the reason behind the new look is to build more trust between law enforcement and the community.

"That's when they'll pick up the phone and give us tips when they know you," Watson said, "But when they don't know you personally, they won't share those confidential tips with you."

Sheriff Watson said about 95 percent of all employees got a pay raise included in the deal and now they offer a more competitive wage with nearby law enforcement agencies.

Breakdown of all positions:

Command Staff: 7 (down from 12)

Patrol Services: 55 (up from 45)

Criminal Investigations (CID): 23 (up from 18)

School Resource Officers (SRO): 17 (up from 16)

Administrative Services: 8 (stayed the same)

Support Services: 10 (up from 9)

Corrections/Judicial Services: 97 (up from 90)

Breakdown of new positions:

19 new positions and five retirees replaced

10 patrol

5 Criminal Investigations (CID)

1 School Resource Officer (SRO)

7 Corrections/Judicial Services

1 Support Services

Breakdown of supervisor positions:

1 Sheriff

1 Chief

0 Majors (down from 3)

5 Captains

15 Lieutenants (down from 18)

12 Sergeants (down from 21)

0 Corporals (down from 7)

0 Directors (down from 1)

0 Assistant Directors (down from 2)

Total Supervisors: 34 (down from 59)

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