Outgoing Bradley County Commissioner and retired Cleveland Police Department Criminal Investigator Brian Smith will be named chief deputy in the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office command staff.
Smith’s selection was set to be confirmed today by Sheriff-elect Eric Watson during a community reception at the Bradley County Courthouse at 2 p.m.
In the last couple days, Watson has announced the positions of his incoming leadership team, including director of Administration, captain of the Criminal Investigations Division, Patrol Division, director of Support Services and Corrections and Judicial Captain.
Watson said his intent is to “streamline” his administration.
“My campaign promise to the residents of Bradley County was to create a new spirit for the department and take it in a new direction. With the new organizational steps I will implement, this promise will be achieved,” Watson said in an earlier interview with the Cleveland Daily Banner.
He added, “[These are] steps that will provide the deputies and support staff with a positive and cohesive work environment and a better utilization of supervisory positions that will provide more deputies to patrol our streets and neighborhoods. [And it is] leadership that will, by example, renew our commitment to provide the law enforcement services that a growing Bradley County needs.”
Smith, 53, is a lifelong resident of Cleveland. He graduated from Cleveland High School and attended Cleveland State Community College.
He is a 32-year law enforcement veteran, having begun his career in 1980 as a deputy sheriff with the BCSO. Later, Smith joined the Cleveland Police Department as a patrol officer, beginning a career that saw him rise through the ranks to become a detective sergeant, the position he held when he retired from CPD in March 2012, Watson said.
Smith has served the past eight years on the Bradley County Commission, having been elected to the seat in 2006 to represent the 3rd District of Bradley County. Smith decided not to seek re-election earlier this year.
While a member of the County Commission, Smith held several leadership positions, including chair of the Law Enforcement Committee, the Education Committee, the Juvenile Justice Committee and the Workhouse Study Committee.
"I am honored to accept the offer from Sheriff-elect Watson to become his chief deputy,” Smith said. “It is a thrill for me to go back to my roots in law enforcement at the sheriff's office, and to continue to be of service to the residents of Cleveland and Bradley County in this position. As I leave the County Commission, I look forward to this new chapter in my life, and especially the opportunity to work closely with the professional officers and staff of the Sheriff's Office.”
Smith began his career when he was 20 years old.
After 32 years as a law enforcement professional, Smith received thousands of hours of in-service training, specialized training, and management training. Smith is a graduate of the University of Tennessee's Municipal Management School, as well as effective supervision training. He is a graduate of the Tennessee Basic Law Enforcement Academy, and has been trained in the areas of criminal investigation and officer survival.
Among the many specialized schools attended by the future chief deputy are schools dealing in investigation techniques of the following areas: criminal conspiracies, homicide, narcotics trafficking, traffic homicide, child sexual abuse, dangerous drugs, international money laundering, and digital voice stress analysis, according to Smith’s biography.
He played instrumental roles in a number of local and continuing homicide investigations and cases.
"I am extremely proud to appoint a local veteran of law enforcement of the caliber of Brian Smith to the important post of second-in-command in my new administration. Brian brings a wealth of law enforcement and leadership knowledge to his new position, as well as the respect of both city and county officers and government officials," said Watson.
"I, along with all residents of Cleveland and Bradley County, are very fortunate Brian made the choice to re-enter the law enforcement field by accepting this appointment. I could not have imagined a better trained, experienced, and prepared person with such an extensive background in both local criminal justice and government service to fill this position. I wholeheartedly welcome Brian as my new second-in-command," Watson added.
Smith attends Georgetown Baptist Church and has a son, Kyle Smith who is a senior at Cleveland High School.