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New sheriff won't make brother chief deputy

By Kristen Bishop 340-2443

MOULTON — The new Lawrence County sheriff squelched rumors of possible nepotism on his first day in office.

Sheriff Gene Mitchell said he has no plans to hire his brother, a retired Moulton police officer, as the department's deputy chief.

"That's been the rumor from day one during the election, but I don't plan to hire him," said Mitchell. "That doesn't mean that he can't help. I'm going to have an auxiliary force, and he could help there."

Mitchell said many county residents have expressed interest in volunteering with the department. "We've got a good, active group of people willing to work with us," he said.

There may not be a deputy chief under his administration, said Mitchell. A deputy chief's duties usually include a mixture of field and administrative work. "In the past, the chief has been the acting sheriff in the field," he said.

Mitchell said he plans to spend the majority of his time working with his deputies and in the county, making a deputy chief unnecessary. "I'm really not sure I'll have one — at least in the short term," he said.

Mitchell took possession of the jail and the department property Tuesday morning at 12:01. Former Sheriff Bryan Hill was not present.

All officers were sworn in at the Sheriff's Department on Tuesday. Mitchell had originally planned to swear them in Monday but was told he had to wait until he officially took office at midnight.

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