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New sheriff brings promotions, demotions, transfers, changes

Fayette County Sheriff Barry Babb has been sworn in and is in the process of appointing a new set of four command staff members to lead the department. Three of the former command staff will move to other positions in the sheriff’s office while Maj. Bryan Woodie — a top aide to former Sheriff Wayne Hannah — has resigned, effective Jan. 3.

Woodie previously headed the Field Operations Division (FOD) over traffic and patrol deputies.

Another former command staff transitioning to another position is Lt. Col. Robert Glaze who served in the CID (Criminal Investigations Division). Now with the rank of captain, Glaze’s position will be with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security Task Force.

Maj. Charlie Cowart, who headed operations at the Fayette County Jail, will serve under Babb as a captain in the new Support Services Division.

And the last to transition after the shuffle is former Maj. Jerri Slemmons, who was appointed last summer to head the sheriff’s Administrative Division. In her new capacity, Lt. Slemmons will resume her old job as a compliance officer.

Pertaining to the position held by Deborah Hannah, wife of former Sheriff Wayne Hannah, Babb said she will continue to serve as captain of youth services, adding that he has no plan to change that assignment.

While the changes in command staff amount to demotions, Babb said, “We are still all brothers and sisters. Therefore, these are still valued employees. Though (the changes) are demotions, they are still in appointed positions within the command staff and I’m putting them where I think they can be best utilized.”

So who are the members of the new command staff team? Capt. David Moorman in Field Operations is being promoted to major in charge of the Field Operations Division.

Criminal investigations (CID) will see Tommy Pope, who has served as a captain in CID, assuming the role as major, heading up the investigators.

Another CID staff member, Capt. Michelle Walker, will serve as major, heading up the Support Services Division. Part of an internal department revamping, support services will include a number of new functions along with those of the old Administrative Division.

Rounding out the changes in command staff, Babb named CID Lt. Anthony Rhodes as captain and director of the Fayette County Jail.

“In order to stay true to the mandate the citizens of Fayette County sent me into office with, I have assembled a command staff of hard working commanders literally taken from the field,” Babb said Tuesday. “Each of these officers have worked their way up through the ranks and are respected by their peers for their abilities and have worked alongside their subordinates to get the job done.”

As for the revamping of the four divisions in the sheriff’s office, Babb said the Administrative Division is transforming into the Support Services Division with the expanded role of logistics, training and fiscal management.

“I want to free up the FOD, CID, and the Jail divisions and streamline them so that each division can focus on their individual mission. There was some redundancy in each division with officers wearing several hats to maintain each division,” Babb said. “This new approach is more in line with accepted standards, and instead of each division competing for resources individually, all resources will be managed from a single point under my direction. I believe this approach allows our team more accountability with a better allocation of resources during these economic times while staying true to our mission of public safety. This way accountability and teamwork will be better monitored and maintained.”

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