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Crime & Justice

Williamson County Sheriff Mike Gleason Reshapes Department In An Attempt To Build Trust

Williamson County Sheriff's Office
Michael Minasi
/
KUT

When newly elected Williamson County Sheriff Mike Gleason took office this month, he was taking over a department steeped in controversy. In the past year, the sheriff's office has been scrutinized for its use-of-force practices, its contract with the reality show "Live PD" and the death of a 40-year-old Black man in deputies' custody.

To reshape the department, one of Gleason's first actions was removing many employees, particularly those in leadership positions, and bringing in new hires.

"It was very elementary that some of those people would not be invited back just because of the allegations, indictments, some of their behavior," Gleason said.

He made a list of about 19 employees he didn't want to welcome back, many of whom were part of the command staff. Some of those employees decided to resign in response.

Multiple staff members, including former Sheriff Robert Chody, have been involved in ongoing lawsuits. Those members are no longer with the department, Gleason said.

He said he found the lawsuits and mistreatment of staff a reflection on the leadership in the department.

"Someone in a command staff position is held to a very high standard, has to have a very high moral compass and integrity," Gleason said. "And that was never displayed by the way they were treating the employees. And so they just weren't fit for the job."

He said the department has since been restaffed, and some employees who were fired under Chody's administration were brought back.

Gleason said he is "extremely excited" after the departmental changes, and he hopes to rebuild trust with the Williamson County community and with officers who he feels were mistreated by the previous department leaders.

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