New sheriff in Randolph County - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

New sheriff in Randolph County

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Sheriff Eddie Fairbanks, Randolph County Sheriff's Department Sheriff Eddie Fairbanks, Randolph County Sheriff's Department
Photo of Sheriff Eddie Fairbanks with former Sheriff Gary Yochum Photo of Sheriff Eddie Fairbanks with former Sheriff Gary Yochum
CUTHBERT, GA (WALB) -

Eddie Fairbanks has taken over as the new sheriff at Randolph County, following the unexpected death of longtime sheriff Gary Yochum.

Yochum died from a heart attack in the early morning hours last January.  Now Fairbanks, the former Chief Deputy of the Randolph Co. Sheriff's Department, has assumed the sheriff's role. 

Sheriff Yochum was well loved by his department. He was the sheriff of Randolph County for more than 12 years. But the department was forced to replace him after he suffered a fatal heart attack in last January.

"I just couldn't believe it, because me and him had spend most of the day together," said Sheriff Eddie Fairbanks, Randolph County Sheriff's Department. "You know, talkin' about there were some calls that we were gonna take off line, and we was out by where the new jail was being built at. Sitting there talking, and he seemed okay. He seemed like he was alright, you know."

Fairbanks worked with Yochum for years, and says he had a great amount of respect for the man. He also said after more than two decades of working together, he could always look to the sheriff for advice.

"You know, anything I needed...I always went to him. I could always come in this office here and sit down and talk to him about anything, you know," said Fairbanks. "I didn't have to worry about being afraid to talk to him, you know."

Though Fairbanks is the new sheriff in town, he was already set to take over after Yochum retired. While he didn't want to get the job under these conditions, he is proud to become the first African-American sheriff in Randolph County.

"To know that people in Randloph County have enough confidence in me to go to the polls and vote...and do what they need to do. It feels real good. It makes me very proud of this community that I've lived in all my life," he said.

He said he doesn't plan to change the department's operations, and hopes to continue to help the community.  He also said he'll continue to hold a special place in his heart for the old sheriff, who he described as a family man and loving Christian.

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