Lawson identifies command staff

BCSO team includes new and old faces

By AUTUMN HUGHES
Posted 8/8/18

Bradley County Sheriff-Elect Steve Lawson announced the members of his incoming command staff on Tuesday afternoon, taking the next step as he prepares to be sworn in to office on Sept. 1. The announcement came during a press conference at the Bradley County Judicial Complex.

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Lawson identifies command staff

BCSO team includes new and old faces

BRADLEY COUNTY SHERIFF-ELECT Steve Lawson announced his command staff during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. On the front row, from left, are Support Services Division Capt. Gabe Thomas, Judicial Services Division Capt. Bill Dyer, Director of Finance Cassandra Stone, Patrol Division Capt. Jon Collins, Criminal Investigation Division Capt. John Stone and Corrections Division Capt. Alan Walsh. On the back row are Director of Administration Lewis Jones, Sheriff-Elect Steve Lawson and Chief Deputy Brian Smith.
BRADLEY COUNTY SHERIFF-ELECT Steve Lawson announced his command staff during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. On the front row, from left, are Support Services Division Capt. Gabe Thomas, Judicial Services Division Capt. Bill Dyer, Director of Finance Cassandra Stone, Patrol Division Capt. Jon Collins, Criminal Investigation Division Capt. John Stone and Corrections Division Capt. Alan Walsh. On the back row are Director of Administration Lewis Jones, Sheriff-Elect Steve Lawson and Chief Deputy Brian Smith.
Contributed photo
Posted

Bradley County Sheriff-Elect Steve Lawson announced the members of his incoming command staff on Tuesday afternoon, taking the next step as he prepares to be sworn in to office on Sept. 1. The announcement came during a press conference at the Bradley County Judicial Complex.

“Since winning the Republican Party nomination in May, I began laying the foundation on how to achieve the plans that I laid out in my campaign,” Lawson said. “As you are already aware, I formed a transition team comprised of leaders with knowledge and experience to help implement those plans for the sheriff’s office over the next four years.

“Today I am here to announce the command staff that will serve beside me to head each division at the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office,” he continued. “These individuals have served our community in law enforcement for many years and I have full confidence in their leadership abilities. Many of these individuals have been or are currently serving in a leadership role at the sheriff’s office.

“They will be empowered to do their jobs, make decisions, and provide effective, common sense leadership for the members of the sheriff’s office,” Lawson said. “Our goal as a team will simply be to work hard each and every day to make the sheriff’s office the best it can be for every officer and employee, as well as provide the best service with integrity to the people of this county.”

The members of Lawson’s command staff are:

• Cassandra Stone, Director of Finance:

A 14-year BCSO veteran, beginning in 2004, Stone has served in finance, and as finance coordinator. She attended Cleveland State Community College.

Lawson said he and Stone have worked together many times over the years. Stone said she feels thankful and privileged to be chosen for this position, and appreciates the opportunity.

“I’ve learned a lot from him,” Stone said of Lawson. “I’m going to continue to do the best job I can for him.”
• Lewis Jones – Director of Administration:

A 33-year veteran of law enforcement and investigation, Jones has worked for the Cleveland Police Department, BCSO and the state of Tennessee. His duties have included serving as a patrol deputy, sergeant and detective. He has a degree in criminal justice, along with training and certifications in law enforcement and investigation techniques.

Lawson said he and Jones went to high school together and he's known him throughout his law enforcement career. Jones said he is honored to work with such outstanding law enforcement veterans as Lawson and those on the command staff.

“It was a privilege to work with him then and it’s a privilege to work with him now,” Jones said.

• Gabe Thomas – Captain, Support Services Division:

A 20-year veteran of the BCSO, starting in 1998, he has worked in corrections, as a lieutenant and as a supervisor. He has had training and certifications in leadership and law enforcement administration.

“I believe he will excel where he’s at,” Lawson said of Thomas.

 “I believe in loyalty, I believe in professionalism and I believe in integrity,” Thomas said. “I believe that under this administration we’re going to have all of that.”
• Alan Walsh – Captain, Corrections Division:

Walsh has served 34 years in local law enforcement, all with BCSO, in corrections and holding the ranks of sergeant, lieutenant and captain. He has had extensive training and certifications in law enforcement.

“I know his drive, I know what he will do,” Lawson said of Walsh, adding he has the respect of people at the sheriff’s office. “We’re going to get better every day.”

Walsh said he is honored to be named to Lawson’s command staff and looks forward to working under his administration. He added there will be additional training for BCSO personnel.
• Bill Dyer – Captain, Judicial Services Division:

A 33-year veteran in security and law enforcement, he began working with BCSO in 1985, and has served on the command staff of three previous administrations, in patrol and corrections. He has served as a supervisor, sergeant, lieutenant, captain and as chief deputy. Dyer has a degree in criminal justice, along with 50 separate training certifications, and has attended the FBI Academy.

“I’m glad to be back,” Dyer said. “I’m glad to be back under Sheriff-Elect Steve Lawson.”

Dyer said he plans to improved training and safety. “We’re going to bring things back where they need to be,” he said.

• John Stone – Captain, Criminal Investigation Division:

A 21-year veteran of the BCSO, starting in 1997, he has served as a patrol deputy, detective, supervisor, lieutenant, captain and SWAT commander. He has more than 40 separate training certifications, and attended the FBI Academy.

Stone said he is thankful for the opportunity and fortunate to work with dedicated detectives. He is looking forward to working with other agencies and using all available resources to investigate crime.

Lawson said he wants the Criminal Investigation Division to get “better and better and better.”

• Jon Collins – Captain, Patrol Division:

A 26-year veteran in law enforcement, with BCSO and the CPD, starting in 1992. He has served as a patrol deputy, sergeant, lieutenant and captain. Collins has a degree in criminal justice, along with training certifications in leadership and law enforcement, and attended the FBI Academy.

“Jon Collins is well respected in the area of law enforcement area-wide,” Lawson said.

Collins, who served as campaign treasurer during Lawson’s campaign, said he is honored and humbled to be selected for the position. He noted he is somewhat sad to leave the Cleveland Police Department, but glad to be returning to the sheriff’s office.

• Brian Smith – Chief Deputy:

A 35-year veteran in law enforcement, with the BCSO and CPD, starting in 1980. He has served as a patrol deputy, detective, sergeant and chief deputy. Smith has specialized training in both law enforcement and leadership.

Lawson said he has known Smith for many years and that as a Bradley County commissioner Smith worked with budgets.

“Brian Smith is fair,” Lawson said. “I believe he gets along good with the Commission, I believe he gets along good with the Cleveland Police Department. I think he will represent this entire department well.”

Smith thanked Lawson and “the entire Lawson family” for “taking a chance on a kid” at the beginning of his career.

Lawson said he has “rearranged some things” in each BCSO division and noted that “I’m never going to micromanage these people” because they all know how to do their jobs. He added that he put a lot of thought into assembling his command staff.

“We can’t wait to get started serving,” Lawson said. He noted there are challenges ahead but they will focus on the same plan every day with a goal of serving the community. “These folks will be out front and they’ll lead their people.”

Lawson added he wants to address church and school safety, among other aspects of law enforcement. He also acknowledged areas where he believes BCSO needs to get better, like officer safety.

After the introductions, and while the command staff was being congratulated by those in attendance at the press conference, Lawson said he has worked with everyone he appointed. He added any BCSO staffing changes after he takes offices will fall within the guidelines available to him and his command staff will be helping with that.

In a previous interview with the Cleveland Daily Banner, Lawson said he plans to follow the rules as laid out in Chapter 70 of Bradley County’s Private Acts of 1995, known as the Bradley County Sheriff’s Department Employment Protection Plan. According to the EPP, “all Bradley County sheriff's department personnel who have been employed by the department for a continuous, uninterrupted period of time of at least two years full-time employment, and who during their tenure with the sheriff's department have maintained a satisfactory work history, shall be protected from arbitrary firing or failure to re-hire. The two-year employment period needed to obtain protection under the EPP begins on each employee's date of full-time employment with the department, and job protection status is achieved on the two-year anniversary of each employee's hire date to full-time, continuous employment.”

A copy of the EPP is available at privateacts.ctas.tennessee.edu; select Bradley County and navigate to Chapter X – Law Enforcement, Sheriff, Employment Plan.

Lawson said he met with his command staff on Monday to discuss possible personnel changes.

“There’s not a whole lot of cuts, but there are some,” Lawson said.

According to a news release, Lawson will be sworn into office on Sept. 1. Details of the official swearing in will be released in the coming weeks.

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