published Friday, August 15th, 2014

Sheriff-elect Eric Watson appoints Brian Smith as chief deputy

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Brian Smith, a 32-year law enforcement veteran and a member of the Bradley County Commission, has been named as Sheriff-elect Eric Watson’s chief deputy.

On Friday, Watson introduced Smith and five other members of his command staff during a “meet and greet” event at a packed Bradley County Courthouse.

Watson cited Smith’s long career in law enforcement and his service on the Bradley County Commission as key attributes for his selection.

“Most of all – and this is very important – he has the respect of the many of the city’s police officers as well as Bradley County sheriff’s deputies and attorneys and judges in this town,” said Watson.

Smith retired from the Cleveland Policed Department in 2012, but also served with the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office early in his career. He is finishing his second term on the county commission.

“It’s going to be an honor to work with the men and women of the sheriff’s department and also with all local law enforcement agencies,” said Smith.

Steve Lawson , the former director of the 10th Judicial District Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, will return to serve as captain of the Criminal Investigations Division.

Other members of Watson’s leadership team include Lt. Keith Edwards, Arnold Botts, Gabe Thomas and Richard McAllister.

Edwards has been named as captain of patrol services and Botts has been chosen to serve as director of administration.

Botts is a Cleveland native and former city police chief, said Watson. He has been an office manager and investigator for the Logan-Thompson Law Firm of Cleveland.

In his role of director of administration, Botts will oversee record-keeping, public relations and community outreach programs such as the new Victim Assistance Unit, Watson said.

Watson previously named Thomas as captain of the newly combined corrections and judicial services, and McAllister as director of support services.

Watson will assume office on Sept. 1.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at

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