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Max Sanders sworn in as new sheriff of Lawrence Co.

Sanders will be taking the spot filled by former Lawrence County Sheriff Gene Mitchell.

Posted: Jan 14, 2019 9:17 PM
Updated: Jan 14, 2019 10:52 PM

There’s a new sheriff in town and his name is Max Sanders.

Sanders was sworn in Monday morning at the Lawrence County Courthouse and will be taking the spot filled by former Lawrence County Sheriff Gene Mitchell.

WAAY 31 spoke with Sanders about what he plans to do now that he’s sheriff, and we also learned what voters hope to see done by the new leader in their county.

“I’m concerned about the safety of the county and, in order to solve that, I’m going to put more deputies on the road," Max Sanders said. "With three deputies on the road, I think we’ll cut down on the response time.”

That’s just one of the main things Max Sanders plans to focus on as soon he starts his new job as sheriff of Lawrence County.

Some other items on the agenda: hire more jailers to combat the overcrowding issue, fight the county’s ongoing drug problem, but most importantly, take care of those in his department.

“I’ve been talking with some of the deputies and some of them don’t even have a bulletproof vest," Sanders said.

But before he can start on anything, Sanders says there’s a lot of cleaning up to do.

“The chief I have now worked here at one time, for a few months, under Gene Mitchell and he was shocked at the shape the jail was in—what it looked like when he was here and what it looks like now," Sanders said.

It’s true that some employees will no longer be working under the new sheriff, but Sanders says it was nothing personal.

“We shuffled some and eliminated some, and some of them left through retirement," he said.

Sanders says he still has about 35 of the same employees who worked under Gene Mitchell and he’s excited to get to know them.

In the meantime, WAAY 31 spoke with voters and learned what they think about the new sheriff.

“I’ve got nothing negative to say about Mr. Mitchell, but Max is going to do a wonderful job," R.B. Abbott said. "Conditions are going to be better at the jail.”

“I’m a little sad to see Mr. Mitchell go," another voter said. "He’s proven to do his job for years and he has done a great job, and I don’t understand why you’d want to vote him out of office.”

Either way, Sanders says he’s ready to take on the job.

“I appreciate the opportunity to serve the citizens of Lawrence County, and I’ll try to live up to my expectations and their expectations.”

WAAY 31 asked Sanders about Mitchell not showing up for the traditional hand-off between sheriffs, but Sanders didn’t want to comment, simply saying he’s “staying positive.”

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