Bradley County Sheriff-Elect Eric Watson Announces 2 Of 6 Command And Leadership Positions

Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Gabe Thomas
Gabe Thomas

Bradley County Sheriff-elect Eric Watson announced Gabe Thomas and Richard McAllister will be joining the command staff on Sept. 1.

Officials said, "Combining two critically important divisions of the sheriff's office under one leader will result in a more efficient use of departmental resources. The job will require a person with truly unique experience in both areas, and Sheriff-Elect Eric Watson announced he has chosen just such a person to become his new captain of Corrections and Judicial Services."

"There is no one that I know who can bring Gabe's vast experience and training in both corrections and judicial services to the table like he does.

He is the most qualified person I know of to head up this new division," Mr. Watson said.

A 1994 graduate of Bradley Central High School, Mr. Thomas's law enforcement career began in 1998 as a corrections officer with BCSO, and over the span of 11 years, he was promoted to every ranking supervisory position in the Corrections Division. He was named Corrections Captain in 2006, a post he held for four years.

In 2010, Mr. Thomas steered his career in a different direction when he transferred to the Patrol Division where he became a certified patrol deputy. This move lead to his current assignment in the Judicial Services Division as part of the department's Fugitive Warrant Team.

During his 15-year tenure with BCSO, Mr. Thomas has had extensive training in jail operations and corrections management. Some of his specialized training has included: Criminal Law, Crises Intervention, Self-Defense Tactics, Search and Seizure Procedures, Suicide Prevention, Inmate Behavior Modification, Jail Safety and Security, and Conflict Resolution.

In addition, Mr. Thomas is a graduate of the F.B.I. Instructor Development School, and he holds F.B.I. certification as a firearms instructor. He is also a graduate of the Cleveland State Basic Law Enforcement Training Academy and is certified by the Tennessee Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission. He and his family attend North Cleveland Church of God.

Mr. Thomas holds certification from both the U.S. Department of Justice National Institute of Corrections, and the Tennessee Corrections Institute as a certified Jail Administrator. He is also a graduate of the Tennessee Law Enforcement Executive Development School sponsored by the F.B.I. and the State of Tennessee.

Mr. Thomas's service in the U.S. Army began after high school graduation in 1994, and he was assigned to the 19 K Armor Division, being stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, until being honorably discharged from the service in 1998.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Judicial Services Division, but it will be a dream-come-true for me to head up Corrections once again. 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," Mr. Thomas said.

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

Mr. Watson announced his new director of Support Services in the new administration will be Richard McAllister.

"Finding one uniquely qualified person to effectively manage budgets totaling more than 14 million dollars, 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 Mr. Watson.

Mr. McAllister has been employed by Moridge Manufacturing, Inc., since 1990, and has been responsible for budgeting and procurement of an enterprise that exceeding twenty million dollars in revenue.

Other duties performed by Mr. McAllister included the development of networks and relationships that secured contracts with many government agencies on the local, state, and federal levels throughout this region.

Mr. McAllister also worked as a senior auditor in the procurement division of General Motors Corporation in Atlanta, where he was responsible for writing policy and procedures for purchasing, as well as tracking for adherence to accepted policy. He also was responsible for revising purchasing policies for General Motors as necessary for efficient operations.

"What makes Richard so uniquely qualified for the position of director of support services for BCSO is his extensive professional work experience, combined with a formal education that truly sets him apart from all others I considered for this critically important job," Mr. Watson said.

Mr. McAllister is a 1979 graduate of the Woodrow Wilson School of Law located at Georgia State University in Atlanta, where he was awarded a Juris Doctor Degree. Prior to graduation from law school, he received a BBA degree with a major in Managerial Economics and a Minor in Accounting from Georgia State University in 1975. Both degrees were earned with honors from Georgia State University. He and his wife also attend Mt. Olivet Methodist Church.

“Richard’s professional and educational background are more than enough to qualify him for this position, but in addition, he is also a proud veteran of the United States Coast Guard, having served our country as an aviation machinist and air crewman, and distinguishing himself as an instructor in leadership and preparedness training for natural disaster response," Mr. Watson added.

"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. 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,” Mr. McAllister said.

Mr. Watson said, “I do not believe any law enforcement agency in this state can boast of having a more qualified person to oversee its budget and other complicated matters within their respective department. I am proud to bring Richard on as part of my leadership team. I have full faith and confidence he will do an outstanding job.”

Richard McAllister
Richard McAllister


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