A seven-year veteran of the Dade County Sheriff's Office has announced his intent to run the department.
Ray Cross said that, under his watch, deputies in Dade would be more visible to residents.
"I'd have officers in the community more - not on the highways, but in the neighborhoods," he said.
Cross said more visible law enforcement will curb the recent spate of burglaries in Dade. Forming a burglary suppression unit to stop the crimes will be one of his first actions if elected, he said.
He also hopes to cut down drug use among high schoolers, particularly those who abuse synthetic drugs and prescription pills, he said.
Cross has served in roles from detention officer to SWAT member in law enforcement, but he believes his work as assistant police chief for Lookout Mountain gave him experience that will be valuable as sheriff. After being chosen for the police chief post, he attended New Chiefs' School in Gainesville, Fla., where he learned the behind-the-scenes work that makes a department successful, including a chief's administrative, budgeting and patrol assignment duties, he said.
"I think [my administrative experience] will be extremely helpful," Cross said.
A supporter and friend of four years, Linda Hensley, said Cross could help clean up the department.
"He's delved into this to know what changes need to happen in the administration of the sheriff's department," she said. "He's very disciplined, thoughtful and honest."
Staff writer Adam Poulisse contributed to this story.