ROGERSVILLE — After a 29 year career as a police officer in Florida, Butch Gallion’s idea of retirement is managing more than 200 inmates in the Hawkins County Jail.
Sheriff Ronnie Lawson introduced Gallion as his new jail administrator during Tuesday’s meeting of the Hawkins County Commission’s Budget Committee.
Lawson told the committee he had to replace his jail administrator several months ago but hadn’t been actively seeking to fill that position.
Late last month, Gallion moved from Ocala in Marion County, Fla., to Clinch Valley after retiring from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, where he was watch commander with the rank of captain.
“He wanted to put in as a reserve officer and kind of keep his foot in the door in law enforcement,” Lawson said. “I done some background checks on him, and he has an outstanding record. I got his personnel file, which was about 12 inches thick, and a lot of that was commendations.”
Lawson said he also spoke to Gallion’s supervisors, who gave him glowing recommendations.
Lawson added, “I talked to him about being jail administrator. He was hired in the first of January, and he’s making a difference already at the jail. He’s a proven winner.”
After doing an online search with his family for the best place to retire, Gallion picked a 50-acre lot in Clinch Valley that he purchased two years.
Technically, he won’t be retired from Marion County until March, when his leftover leave time runs out. He moved to Hawkins County on Jan. 27 and started working at the jail Jan. 1.
“I wanted land, I wanted to be more rural, and I wanted to get away from all metropolitan areas and meet folks who are friendly,” Gallion told the Times-News. “As we got up into this area, everybody we met was just super. We’ve yet to meet anybody who didn’t welcome us with open arms, and it’s just been wonderful.”
As watch commander in Marion County, Gallion was in charge of a patrol shift with 35-40 officers on duty.
Lawson said Gallion brings a lot of knowledge and experience to the jail administrator position.
“The jail was one of my biggest headaches, and he’s taken that load off my shoulders so I can focus my time on other things,” Lawson said.