CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Two well-known and popular law enforcement officials are seeking the Republican nomination for Bradley County sheriff in the May 2 party primary.
Incumbent Dan Gilley is seeking what he calls a contract renewal with the people after four and a half terms in office.
"I am explaining my vision to the people of Bradley County, that I have not been a caretaker of the office," Mr. Gilley said. "To me, retirement is a four-letter word. I like to finish what I start."
Challenger Tim Gobble, a former U.S. Secret Service agent, said he believes there’s "room for improvement" in the sheriff’s department.
"Always, change is always good," Mr. Gobble said, "whether we are talking about reductions in crime or managing resources effectively.
"For instance, we now have a sheriff’s office that consumes 41 percent of the county general fund. I think there are indications they are top-heavy in management and have some high-level bureaucracy that can be streamlined," Mr. Gobble said.
Mr. Gilley said he disagrees about the need for a change.
"I hope the voters of Cleveland and Bradley County disagree as well," he said. "We have a law enforcement agency that is competent in what they are doing. The crime rate is on the way down."
Mr. Gobble served about one year with the Cleveland Police Department before becoming a career Secret Service agent. Returning to Cleveland, he became a Cleveland city councilman but gave up the post during a controversy that led to the resignation of former Police Chief Lee Reese. He was named county Emergency Management director, but resigned to run for sheriff.
Whoever wins the nomination on May 2 will face Democrat Chris Watson in the Aug. 3 general election. Mr. Watson served 13 years as an investigator with the sheriff’s department and said he sees problems he would like to change.