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Chief deputy backs out of Rec Department role

Jason Brown, the Henderson County sheriff's office chief deputy who was scheduled to become county recreation director on Tuesday, has backed out of the job and will stay on as chief deputy, County Manager Steve Wyatt said Monday.

The news came as the sheriff's office comes off of a high-profile manhunt and murder case in which Brown appeared alongside Sheriff Charlie McDonald at news conferences and helped lead a massive search and intense investigation involving 37 agencies across many counties in two states.

Wyatt announced on July 11 that Brown would replace Parks and Recreation Director Tim Hopkin, who had been reassigned to his old job over athletics programs. With Brown's decision to stay with the sheriff's office, John Mitchell, the county director of Business and Community Development, remains the acting Rec Department director.

Wyatt released a memo from himself to Brown in which he granted the chief deputy's request to stay in law enforcement.

"Recent events have given you cause to reevaluate your pending transfer to the position of Director of Parks and Recreation," Wyatt said. "You have concluded that your highest level of contribution to the community would be to remain as Chief Deputy and you have requested that I release you from the pending reassignment.
"I am in agreement. These past difficult, yes tragic days have made it clear to me that you are first and foremost, a 'Law Man'. While your leadership skills and abilities would serve the organization and community well in any capacity, I see where your heart is at its core. I respect your decision and grant your request.
"I look forward to working with you, Sheriff McDonald, and the fine men and women of the Henderson County Sheriff’s Department in the days ahead."