He will continue in his state legislative duties.
Watson’s resignation was confirmed in Tuesday’s edition of the Cleveland Daily Banner and the longtime law enforcement officer offered details this morning in a prepared statement.
According to Watson’s news release, his father Richard was severely injured in a tractor-vehicle crash one year ago and continues in his recovery. During this long-term process, Watson will be helping in the family business, Village Tire Company.
“I have been considering this for several months now and have spoken with my colleagues about this,” Watson said today.
Watson was referring to state Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville representing the 9th Senatorial District, and state Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland representing the 24th Legislative District.
Watson has been a member of the BCSO since 1991, working his way to the rank of lieutenant in 2006, under Sheriff Tim Gobble, then serving under Sheriff Jim Ruth as part of his Command Staff and as captain in Judicial Services. Watson also worked for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency until his election to the 22nd Legislative District.
Judicial Services is charged with court security at both the Bradley County Courthouse and the Bradley County Judicial Complex, as well as warrant service.
Watson will be succeeded by Lt. Jim Brown of the BCSO Judicial Services Division who will lead the court officers as commander, Sheriff Jim Ruth confirmed Tuesday.
Ruth was in a staff meeting this morning and could not be reached for additional comment about Watson’s resignation, according to Bob Gault, BCSO media relations coordinator.
In the Legislature, Watson is the chairman of the State House Judiciary Committee and will continue that work.
Here is Watson’s statement in its entirety regarding his resignation:
“On Monday, Oct. 3, I resigned from the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office.
“I am honored to have served Southeast Tennessee in law enforcement for my entire professional career. Serving our citizens is my life’s calling and I certainly appreciate, respect, and honor all of my fellow public servants who place themselves in harm’s way each and every day while serving and protecting our citizens. It is a worthy endeavor and I personally thank everyone that I have had the honor and privilege of serving with during my years of law enforcement service.
“Law enforcement is in the public arena just the same as is service in the Legislature. It is a competition of ideas, of philosophy and of pursuing the highest and best way to serve our citizens. It is from this perspective that I move forward to the challenges that confront our citizens and our communities.
“Law enforcement is not only my career, it is also my passion. It is what I have dedicated my life’s work to and it remains my goal to serve our citizens in the law enforcement field in the near future. However my immediate plans are to answer the unexpected needs of my parents and our family business. Although my father has been blessed with his recovery from his near fatal accident, there is a need for me to join my family, to help operate my father’s business until his full recovery.
“That said, I will continue serving in my role as your state representative for our district and our state. We had an incredibly successful legislative session this year and I look forward to an even better session next year. As chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I can promise we will continue finding ways to make our communities safer and will pass initiatives that respect our constitutional rights. Now is the time to make our community a better place to live, work, and raise a family and I intend to do just that.”