“I am very proud of my accomplishments as Sheriff of Bradley County, but a good Sheriff always knows that his work is never finished.”
-Sheriff Eric Watson
Sheriff Eric Watson is an effective and proven leader who has made the following accomplishments during his first 4-years of being elected.
In September, 2014, the first baptismal service was conducted with inmates inside the Bradley County Jail.
Faith-Based Programs, which incorporates ministers within the community, have never been more prevalent in the Bradley County Jail than in Sheriff Watson’s Administration.
In February 2017, Sheriff Watson hosted a reception for all Faith Based Programs’ volunteers at Bradley Central High School. Former inmate Jason Dixon shared the positive impact the programs had on his life while incarcerated inside the Bradley County Jail.
FBI retiree Harold Mize; Paul Davis, Associate Pastor of Westwood Baptist Church; Dr. Mark Williams, Senior Pastor of North Cleveland Church of God; David and Alecia Kramer, Pastor and Minister from the Church of God at Jerusalem Acres; and Evan Cockerham, Senior Pastor at Living Word Church join Sheriff Watson for the announcement of placing “IN GOD WE TRUST” on the sheriff office’s fleet vehicles.
“I think being able to brand this national motto on our cars is just a silent affirmation of that which is already on our coins — that we trust in God. It is also a silent reminder to those who drive those cars that we are praying for them. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to participate as so many other counties have done.” -Dr. Mark Williams, Senior Pastor of North Cleveland Church of God
“We look at this as an investment back into our community from the standpoint of doing good. We want to make sure our community is constantly aware who it is we trust. We have a great sheriff, chief of police and mayor, but our ultimate trust is in God who oversees our community and has kept us safe and fruitful throughout the years.” -Paul Davis, Associate Pastor of Westwood Baptist Church
“We agree with [what] the pastor — er, the sheriff — is doing in Bradley County and we wanted to show our support. Also, we think when a police car arrives at your situation, whether it be an accident, or whether it be an emergency or a house fire or anything, we just think we want to see those words, ‘In God We Trust,’ because we do trust in God.” -David Kramer, Senior Pastor of Church of God Jerusalem Acres
Under Sheriff Watson’s administration, a new federal contract with the United States Department of Justice was renegotiated which resulted in a tremendous increase of revenue to house federal inmates. The new contract dictated a daily housing rate increase from $49.60 to $58.00 and a guard wage increase from $15.66 to $17.50. The first revision of the federal inmate contract in more than 14 years that resulted in additional revenue.
September 1, 2014 Sheriff Eric Watson took $863,000 of management positions and created an additional 12 patrol deputies, 5 detectives, and 6 correction officers in order to place more personnel on the streets.
The Brian K. Smith Workhouse project was completed and the Grand-Opening was held Thursday, January 23, 2017. This sub-section of the jail now gives non-violent, low security, inmates the ability to work while still serving their jail sentences.
Sheriff Watson has hosted numerous trainings for area churches in order to equip pastors and their staffs with the resources to be prepared for an act of violence.
Sheriff Watson was appointed to the Advisory Board of University of Tennessee at Knoxville Institute for Public Service’s Law Enforcement Innovation Center (L.E.I.C.). The board’s role is to counsel the center’s leadership team on law-enforcement community trends in order to dictate the type of training offered to law-enforcement agencies across Tennessee.
“Certainly while the road deputies and the detectives deserve quite a bit of credit, the corrections department that has to manage all those folks, the command staff that has to make sure these folks are directed in the right way, all the way up to Sheriff Watson … it is a great milestone for all of them, and they should all be honored for the jobs they do,” -10TH Judicial District Attorney General Steve Crump
TN State Representative Kevin Brooks and State Senator Mike Bell present a joint resolution from the Tennessee House and Senate “for ranking seventh in the state for Total Offenses Cleared, and first in Tennessee for Total Cases Cleared for areas of population 100,000 or more.”
“They are doing a great job, and all the credit goes to the employees, the deputies, the chiefs all the way up to the sheriff for doing a fantastic job for the citizens of Bradley County,” -State Senator Mike Bell
Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland presents Sheriff Eric Watson with a commendation from the City of Cleveland for Bradley County Sheriff Office’s outstanding crime solvability rates.
A certificate of special congressional recognition is presented to Sheriff Eric Watson by U.S. Representative Chuck Fleischmann for “outstanding and invaluable service to the community.”
For the first time in decades, Sheriff Watson added the “AMERICAN FLAG” to the Bradley County Sheriff Office’s uniform patch.
A $20,000 donation was presented to the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office to purchase modernized weapons for the Special Weapons and Tactical Team (S.W.A.T.).
For the first time in history, Tennessee Bureau of Investigations (T.B.I.) conducted training sessions exclusively for the Bradley County Sheriff Office’s Criminal Investigations Division which covered an array of the latest investigative topics and techniques.
“It’s been a very unique training that we normally don’t get at the sheriff’s office. It’s been hands on. It’s been classroom as well, so we’re not just sitting in the classroom the entire time, we’re actually learning it first hand. It’s training that we can use everyday in the course of our jobs.” -Current Property Crimes Detective in C.I.D.
Each of the four Patrol shifts have been equipped with a K-9 Patrol Deputy who are trained for narcotics detection, evidence recovery, criminal apprehension, and tracking missing persons.
K-9 Deputy Duke was presented the “First-Responder of the Month Award” by News Channel 12, WDEF, for finding a 90 year-old dementia patient who went missing and was later found in the woods in extremely humid temperatures.
The Public Safety Unit was created to primarily focus on the Bradley County Sheriff Office’s participation in community events and public education on crash prevention. This specialized unit was also given the responsibility of traffic enforcement and advanced crash investigations.
Bradley County Sheriff’s Office was the first law-enforcement agency in the nation to partner with mifold Grab and Go Booster seats to ensure the safety of chilren transported in fleet vehicles.
These seats were purchased with a $500 donation from Larry Hill Ford.
Two Sheriffs In One Video Praising Eric Watson’s Work and His Accomplishments
A modernized speed trailer was purchased in order to be utilized on Bradley County roadways in order to deter speeding.
The Public Service Unit was organized with volunteers who perform regularly scheduled in-home visits with senior citizens who live alone or have been diagnosed with Alzheimer. In just one-year, this unit performed over 2,700 senior citizen visitations.
Sheriff Watson designed a 10-week “Citizens’ Academy” to give residents in the community a better insight about law-enforcement, The first graduation was held with sixteen men and women in December 2015.
Since becoming Sheriff in 2014, supervised inmate crews have been utilized to focus on helping Cleveland/Bradley County to become a “LITTER-FREE” community. From 2016 – 2017, a $55,000 TDOT Litter Grant was utilized to remove 268,263 pounds of litter from 1,291.8 miles of roads, in which 13,169 pounds of that roadside debris was recycled. Through litter prevention education, dumpsites decreased tremendously from 58 dumpsites in the 2015 – 2016 fiscal year to only one dumpsite in the 2016 – 2017 fiscal year.
The 2017-2018 fiscal year statistics are still being gathered for release.
In the above photo, Sheriff Watson assisted a local pastor clean a dump site on the church’s property in which over 100 tires had been dumped.
Bradley County Sheriff’s Office hosted numerous “Household Waste Collection Day” events which resulted in hundreds of residents safely disposing unwanted toxins and appliances.
Sheriff Eric Watson signs the 2016-2017 state audit which indicates “NO FINDINGS”. This was the “FOURTH” consecutive audit by the State Comptroller’s Office that proves every dollar within the Bradley County Sheriff Office’s fiscal budget was accounted for.
In January 2015, the Bradley County Explorer Program Post #2519 was created for high-school students wanting to enter into the criminal justice profession.
Friday, February 13, 2015 the D.A.R.E. Program was reintroduced into Bradley County Schools during a special ceremony at Parkview Elementary School. Fifth graders in every elementary school are taught the importance of responsible decisions before transitioning to middle-school.
“We are grateful for the support and partnership with our SROs in all of our schools. They are an integral part of our school community for student and family support. We appreciate the SROs for sharing their expertise on developing relationships among officers and communities in order to help us balance the learning environment with the trauma in students’ lives as well as providing us with support on our safety planning teams. Our SRO officers along with the Sheriff’s Office play a vital role in the success of our schools.” -Director of Bradley County Schools, Linda Cash
Bradley County Sheriff’s Office partnered with Bradley County Schools “Let’s Read 20” initiative to encourage parents to read to their child 20 minutes a day. Decals were placed on all sheriff office’s fleet vehicles to publicize the partnership.
In 2017 , the first Sheriff Office Summer “S.O.S.” Camps launched for children from the ages of 10-12 years old to connect with children in the community through an interactive youth camp that created a better understanding about law-enforcement.
Since 2015, the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office has raised almost $10,000 to fight the battle against cancer. Employees’ participation in the “No-Shave November” event and “Community Jail & Bail” event have helped raise the proceeds for the American Cancer Society.
A luncheon was catered to honor correctional officers’ public service to the community during “Corrections Week”.
Over the past four years the average mileage for fleet-vehicles have decreased from 200,000 to 100,000.
In 2016, Sheriff Watson donated uniforms to Veteran’s First Resale Store that were stockpiled in the sheriff’s office closet. The donation included hundreds of shirts, pants, and ties that were worn by personnel before the transition into new uniforms.
“To this date, we have been able to help veterans with the purchase of medical equipment such as wheelchairs, hospital beds, and lift chairs. Additionally, we have assisted veterans who have been displaced from their homes because of a fire. The main reason we exist is to be another local support system our veterans can utilize within our community. I can’t thank Sheriff Watson enough for his department’s donation which will help our efforts in supporting veterans.” -Grant Pirkle (Owner – Veteran’s First Resale Store)
“Coming from a military family, I understand the importance of supporting our veterans. It’s extremely important that our community continues supporting our men and women who have dedicated their lives to defend our country. My heart is overwhelmed by the generosity of Sheriff Watson and the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office.” -Sonya Lacklin (Employee – Veteran’s First Resale Store)
Vehicle and Portable radios were upgraded from a VHF Analog System into a $27 Million 800 MHZ Digital System that includes special encrypted channels which incorporates all surrounding counties, the Tennessee Valley Radio System. The upgrade only cost the agency $142,000 in which was added to $100,000 obtained through a Homeland Security Grant.
The Glock 27 (4th Generation) was distributed as a backup weapon to P.O.S.T. Certified Deputies.