OCALA, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - It's only his third week on the job, but Marion County's new interim sheriff, Emery Gainey, is already making a mark. His predecessor, former sheriff Chris Blair was removed from the job, accused of lying on the stand about an excessive force case.
"Obviously, disappointed when anyone does that,” Gainey said. “Particularly disappointed when the individual is a leader of the organization."
Just a few days ago, a scathing grand jury report detailing lies, manipulation, and deceit within the department was released. Ultimately, the grand jury found that Chris Blair took no responsibility for anything that happened during his tenure, also adding he was "lax and incompetent" in his leadership.
Gainey has already put in a new command staff and created a new internal affairs unit. Last week, he met with all supervisors to make sure they understand what he expects. "Honor, quality, dignity, respect, follow the law,” Gainey explained.
When asked if he might implement policy changes, Gainey said, “There's nothing in the works right now, that I could say 'I'm changing 'X' tomorrow.' But again, as you look at those, and if you see particular issues or concerns, then you tweak them."
When asked how he is holding himself and each of his employees accountable, Gainey replied, "It's an awesome responsibility when we give men and women a badge and a gun, and the authority to affect the lives of citizens,” he explained. “You do that by holding yourself accountable. I do it through faith, quite frankly."
He has 34 years of law enforcement under his belt, and he assures the public that the name of the game is transparency, and responsibility. “I hold myself responsible,” he asserted. “I expect the public to hold me responsible. I expect every employee here to hold me responsible," he added, as this new interim sheriff works to "steer the ship," and restore trust.