SOMMERVILLE, Ala. - There's a new sheriff in Morgan County. Ron Puckett was sworn in Monday. He succeeds Ana Franklin who was sued for misconduct and recently pleaded guilty to not filing a tax return.
Sheriff Puckett was sworn in at the Old Morgan County Courthouse in Somerville with his family standing beside him. He formerly served as the Hartselle Police Chief.
"In the City of Hartselle there were 28 officers, so it's a lot smaller. There are 48 deputies there about 130 jail staff, office staff," he explained.
He says he has been preparing to step into the role as sheriff.
"We had a transition team that we had been meeting on and off for the last several months trying to get ready for the leadership set up," he stated.
His predecessor is Ana Franklin. She has been surrounded by controversy in her final months in office as allegations of misconduct have played out in court.
Franklin also pleaded guilty this month to not filing a tax return.
Puckett says he does not feel added pressure from the controversy as he begins his career as sheriff.
"No, I don't really. That really doesn't have anything to do with Ron Puckett nor really the men and women of the sheriff's office. Today is a new start and that's how we're going to approach this," he said.
Puckett has high expectations as he takes office.
"My goal is to have the best sheriff's department available," he added. "The guys that are trained, that they're professional, that they're proficient in what they do," he said.
Puckett also wants to make some personnel changes including the hiring of a public information officer. The county commission has already approved funding for that new position.
Sheriff Puckett says he's ready to get to work. His official first day will be Tuesday.