Austell — Repeating a now common refrain, newly elected Cobb Sheriff Craig Owens declared a “new era” for the office moments after introducing his 20-member command staff Wednesday evening.

Owens, a Democrat and former Cobb County Police Department major, defeated longtime Cobb Sheriff Neil Warren, a Republican, in the Nov. 3 election.

Owens’ office said it was the first time a public ceremony had been held for the swearing-in of command staff. All 20 members took their oath en masse at the county’s brand new Public Safety Training Center off East-West Connector in Austell.

“He’s brought in a lot of different individuals from different agencies (such as) military, other law enforcement agencies,” said Maj. Steve Gaynor, head of the local Fraternal Order of Police and a member of Owens’ command staff who heads community engagement. “We have a retired Marietta commander. There’s a retired trooper. There’s a couple military guys, there’s a couple folks (from the police department). … They’re just able to bring a new vision, a new view.”

Owens said much the same during brief remarks before and after the command staff took their oath.

“We have a well-rounded group to lead this office into the future,” he said. “The sheriff’s office will never be like it used to be. It’s not because it’s bad that way, it’s just because I’m doing something different.”

During the ceremony, Owens promoted the detention center’s acting commander, Lt. Col. Temetris Atkins, to colonel. Owens said Atkins would continue leading the detention center going forward.

Members of the command staff are:

Chief Deputy Rhonda Anderson♦

♦ Col. Temetris Atkins, Detention Center

♦ Maj. Stacey Baines, Detention Center — Shift Major

♦ Maj. Elisha Brown, Training

♦ Maj. Braxton Cotton, Executive Staff

♦ Col. David Gallmon, Investigations

♦ Maj. Steven Gaynor, Community Engagement

♦ Maj. Thomas E. Hayes, Detention Center — Support Major

♦ Maj. David Hilsman, Investigation

♦ Lt. Col. Clifford Kelker, Investigations

♦ Lt. Col. Ryan Mehling, Field Operations

♦ Lt. Col. Dewayne Morris, Administration

♦ Col. Nathanial Nation, Field Operations

♦ Maj. James Petrie, Operations and Courts

♦ Maj. Marvin Prince, Internal Affairs

♦ Lt. Col. Rebecka Westenberger, Detention Center

♦ Maj. Michael A. Williams, Detention Center — Support Major

♦ Maj. Michael L. Williams, Detention Center — Field Operations

♦ Maj. Larry White, Executive Staff

♦ Col. Eric Yeager, Investigations

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(2) comments

Mike Nelson

No command staff to work with ICE. to help with illegal aliens ? I forgot Owens doesn’t work with them, we are on our own. Good luck taxpayers you voted him in.

Annette Verhoff

Mr Nelson, What I can say that might get through to you? Your kind loves whatabouts, so: Rather than whining about local tax dollars no longer pay for deputies to act as federal employees, whatabout redirecting your outrage in a productive diretction? You could express some outrage toward the Trump administration's failure to address our truly outrageous invader that's killed more than a quarter MILLION Americans in less that one year. Call the virus whatever you makes you happy, but how about some outrage about the Widdle President That Couldn't, Donald John Trump not just failing every American, but his actively working to see his own supporters meet their demise via virus or violence just for his TV viewing pleasure? --Christopher Davis Marietta GA

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