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Sworn in as sheriff, Griffin names chief deputy, district captains

Lowell Griffin was sworn in as Henderson County sheriff Monday night before a nearly full house at Living Water Baptist Church.
Henderson County Clerk of Court Kimberly Gasperson-Justus performed the swearing-in of the all the Sheriff's employees. Retired Superior Court Judge Zoro Guice Jr. administered the oath of office for Griffin.

Two key positions were announced at the swearing-in ceremony. Griffin named Vanessa Gilbert, a 24-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, chief deputy. Maj. Frank Stout, third in command under Sheriff Charlie McDonald, will oversee operations plus communications and the VIP (Volunteers in Partnership) program.
Griffin also named the following leadership positions: Lt. Jake McMurray will head the Patrol Division; Capt. Todd McCrain will head the Detention Division; Lisha Stanley will head the Communications Division; Lt. John Ashe will head the Criminal Investigations Division; Lt Larry Pierson will head the Support Services Division; and Lt. Andrew Anderson will head the Division of Professional Responsibility (formerly called the Office of Professional Standards).
The new organizational service structure rolled out by Sheriff Griffin divides the county into four districts, headed by Capts. Bengy Bryant, Chris Denny, Brandon Staton and a fourth yet to be named. This is a new concept where the focus will be on community relations. Maj. Steve Carter will oversee the operations.

There were few empty seats in the church, a venue selected primarily because of its capacity to hold some 500 Sheriff's Office employees, family members plus well-wishers from the local fire, rescue squad, EMS and law enforcement community. The mood was festive but still reserved. Henderson County deputies, detention officers, and telecommunicators were there to take their oath of office.

“You always know where you stand with this man,” Roy Perry, an ordained minister, retired sheriff's deputy and member of Griffin’s transition team, told the crowd. “The next four years are going to be amazing.”
Griffin said he was glad to be back home after his time working in the Polk County Sheriff's Office. If he harbored any animosity over being let go by the former sheriff, it was not evident from his prepared remarks.
The Edneyville native went on to encourage his employees to work as a team and support each other. He emphasized the importance of having a support group at home outside of the department. He said it was understood that in law enforcement mistakes are sometimes made but it is not the end of the world and lessons can be learned. Although the new sheriff wore a coat and tie for the swearing in, he indicated that more often than not he will be in uniform. District Attorney Greg Newman made some final remarks and said his office looked forward to working with the new sheriff.