Bradley Sheriff-elect Eric Watson announces new commanders

Bradley Sheriff-elect Eric Watson announces new commanders

August 13th, 2014 by Paul Leach in Local Regional News

Gabe Thomas

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

Richard McAllister

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Sheriff-elect Eric Watson has named two members of his command staff, who will assume their new roles on Sept. 1.

Former Corrections Capt. Gabe Thomas will lead the newly combined Corrections and Judicial Services division and Richard McAllister of Moridge Manufacturing Inc. will become the director of support services.

"Combining these two divisions [corrections and judicial] will give us more resources to utilize to make both functions more efficient, but it will take a special person to make it work," said Watson. "I have no doubt Gabe is the right person to make it work, and I am proud to have him on my leadership team."

Thomas, a 1994 graduate of Bradley Central High School and United States Army veteran, has served with the Bradley County Sheriff's Office since 1998, according to Watson.

He was promoted to every ranking supervisory position within the corrections division over an 11-year period and attained the rank of captain in 2006. Thomas is currently assigned to the judicial services division after spending time as a patrol deputy.

"I have learned a lot regarding court services and court security over the past five years, and I feel I can effectively manage both Corrections and Judicial Services with the help of some very fine officers," said Thomas.

McAllister, who has worked for Moridge Manufacturing over 20 years, has been responsible for budgeting and procurement for an enterprise whose revenue exceeds $20 million.

In addition to a bachelor of business administration degree received from Georgia State University in 1975, McAllister also received a law degree from the university's Woodrow Wilson School of Law in 1979.

"Finding one uniquely qualified person to effectively manage budgets totaling more than $14 million, as well as being qualified to research and analyze complicated legal issues, would seem an impossibility, but I am proud to announce I have just such a person joining my new administration," said Watson.

McAllister also is a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, serving as an aviation machinist, air crewman and an instructor of preparedness training for natural disaster response, said Watson.

"I am pleased to be coming home to serve alongside our new sheriff and the professional command staff he is assembling for his new administration," said McAllister. "I am very happy to accept this opportunity to give something worthwhile back to a wonderful community that has been so good to me over the years."

Watson is expected to name other members of his leadership team, including chief deputy, later this week.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at