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Sheriff announces new command staff
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There have also been several more staffing changes, including promotions, within the department.
Stan Harrison was promoted to corporal in October.
Steven Swofford was promoted to sergeant in October.
Jennifer Wright was promoted to lieutenant in the criminal investigations department in November.
Shane Henson was promoted to lieutenant in the position of school resource officer in September.
Theresa Kirby was promoted to lieutenant to serve as the assistant detention commander.
Zach Stewart was promoted to serve as the administrative detention lieutenant.
Kristan Bean will serve as the assistant 911 director.

Additional new hires to the department include:
Patrick Apoian was recently hired as an investigator.
Jacob Denson was hired as a detention officer in December.
Christopher Reed was hired as a detention officer in December.
Joshua Rogers was hired as a deputy school resource officer in October.
Jacob Champion transferred in August as a deputy.


Newly elected Sheriff Jeff Johnson has officially announced the personnel who will be in charge of the various departments within the Dawson County Sheriff's Office.

Five members of Johnson's command staff were previously employed at the sheriff's office and have been promoted within their departments.

One comes from Forsyth County and another from Gainesville.

Greg Rowan has assumed the role of chief deputy. Rowan holds the rank of major and was previously the patrol component commander.

According to Johnson, Maj. Rowan brings 25 years of law enforcement experience to the position, and has served extensively in an operations capacity during his tenure at Dawson County.

Aside from his law enforcement background, Rowan also served as the Dawson County Fire Chief for 4.5 years in the late 80s and early 90s.

Thurmond Atkinson has assumed the role of chief investigator.

Atkinson holds the rank of captain, and had returned from retirement and was serving in the sheriff's services component.

Johnson said that Atkinson brings more than 32 years of law enforcement experience to the position with a large majority of that experience being concentrated in the criminal investigations division.

Chad White has assumed the role of the sheriff's services commander. White holds the rank of captain and was retired from the City of Gainesville Police Department.

White brings just under 27 years of law enforcement experience to the sheriff's office.

According to Johnson, White has served in all enforcement capacities during his tenure to include a temporary appointment as the Interim Chief of Police at the Gainesville Police Department.

Matt Hester has assumed the role of the patrol component commander. Hester holds the rank of captain.

Hester brings 21 years of experience to the sheriff's office, Johnson said.

Hester has extensive operations experience and most recently served as a commander with the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office.

David Lingerfelt has assumed the role of the detention center commander.

Lingerfelt holds the rank of captain.

Although the youngest in age and experience, Johnson said that Lingerfelt possesses extensive experience in the detention center and its operations.

Lingerfelt has served 8 years exclusively in Dawson County and has held several leadership roles within the detention center component.

Ray Goodie has assumed the role of captain within the Office of Professional Services.

Goodie will head the department responsible for state certification, training, internal affairs, special response training and special assignments.

Goodie has 12 years of experience in all enforcement roles including special response operations.

Aleisha Rucker-Wright has assumed the role of 911 director and GCIC terminal agency coordinator. Rucker-Wright has 10 years of experience in communications and information technology roles.

Collectively, the new command staff possesses more than 18,000 hours of POST Training. Several hold instructor level and specialty certifications.

"I am extremely proud of the commitment and dedication which has already been demonstrated by each of these team members. Needless to say, the responsibility and liability of leading a law enforcement entity is exorbitant," Johnson said. "Personally, knowing that we have these men and women serving Dawson County is very encouraging and reassuring. I know that these component leaders will lead by example, promote accountability and will move our agency forward in a progressive manner."

Johnson has restructured the department to better suit his leadership style.

"I opted to return to a more traditional captain (component commander) and lieutenant (assistant commander) structure within the agency rather than have numerous majors," Johnson said. "I believe it affords more of a structured approach and better defines a clearer chain of command. I also believe it provides us a better opportunity for success in that a commander, or an assistant commander, should always be available to respond to our community's needs."