AMERICUS, Ga. (WALB) - Sumter County’s newest sheriff, Eric Bryant, spent the day getting settled in and meeting public safety leaders as the new year officially kicked off his new administration.
“First day actually sitting in the office,” said Bryant.
Bryant won the November election with 69 percent of the vote, beating out his Republican opponent.
On Monday, Sheriff Bryant said things are going well after just four days into the New Year and almost two weeks after being sworn in from deputy chief to the newly elected sheriff.
“It’s almost like being the assistant coach. I’ve had the opportunity to watch our team grow and now it gives me an opportunity to be the coach,” explained Bryant.
Staffing and recruiting is something Sheriff Bryant is working on now. He said the sheriff’s office is not in dire need of more people, but that’s something he wants to avoid and wants to get the handful of vacancies filled.
“And retaining qualified officers within the patrol and jail divisions and we’re actively doing that now. We have a stack of applications that we’re screening,” Bryant told WALB News 10.
Community relations are also very important to the new sheriff, as he’s already thinking ahead to the future.
“And a couple of things that we’ve already got outlined, hopefully for the summer, is a joint partnership between all of our public safety partners here in Sumter County in some type of community event that hopefully, we’ll be able to get kicked off past this pandemic in the summer,” said Bryant.
Sheriff Bryant said there are some minimum but new branding changes coming soon.
“A couple of things that you’ll see that’ll come out that’ll kinda go hand in hand with saying, ‘hey this is a new administration,” said Bryant.
Although some changes are underway, Bryant said he’ll continue a piece of his late predecessor, Sheriff Pete Smith’s legacy.
He said that means being on scene during the good and bad times and adding a personal touch to the community he serves.
“Considering that we have such a great support staff here, is that I’ll continue that same legacy. I won’t be a sheriff that sends or a sheriff that calls, but I’ll be a sheriff that will be there as well,” said Bryant.
Sheriff Bryant believes his experience as the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office’s chief deputy over the past 15 years has prepared him for the role of sheriff and whatever else may happen next.