Several sworn officers took their post Tuesday morning as the new sheriff. In Gulf County, Sheriff Mike Harrison replaces Joe Nugent. After speaking to Harrison, it seems like he's already started working on his list of goals.
Harrison was eager to get started on his new job; so much so, he came in hours before he was sworn in to get right to work. In total eight sheriffs have served the residents of Gulf County and now Sheriff Mike Harrison hopes to live up to his predecessors.
"Any time I put my hand on the bible, I'm swearing an allegiance to this county but I'm swearing an allegiance to god to uphold his covenant laws." Harrison started his career in law enforcement nearly two decades ago and after three attempts, he was elected to the same seat his father filled for nine years.
"The core values that I want to make sure that people remember this agency by is professionalism, integrity and fairness." Harrison says. On Tuesday, he outlined goals he wishes to accomplish, and he even crossed some of them off the list.
"Currently I'm working the Sheriff's office with 3 Lieutenants 5 Sergeants and previously there was 1 Major, 2 Captains and several Lieutenants and Sergeants.
Harrison says the changes in command structure will allow for him to hire more patrol deputies that can help target the drug problem, among others. "There's still cocaine, crack cocaine and prescription pills that continue to haunt our families and destroy our kid's dreams."
But with the pressure to do more, Harrison says he has to do it with less, which includes making changes to the Sheriff's Substation in Wewahitchka. Right now there aren't any plans to shut it down, but Harrison says its possible staffing hours will be cut.
"I'm assessing the overall cost as to what it's costing us and to make sure that there are proper procedures in place to make sure it's the most effective place possible." Harrison adds.
In light of the Newtown, CT school shooting, Harrison also plans to prepare his deputies, just in a case a similar situation were to happen.
"We need more training when it comes to school security. I have already been in touch with the superintendent of schools and we are arranging future training for our employees.