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Officer enjoying duties as chief deputy

Though it’s not quite been a month since Lawrence County Sheriff Tim Sexton appointed Gary Akers as his chief deputy, changes in the agency are well underway.

Thursday, January 25, 2001

Though it’s not quite been a month since Lawrence County Sheriff Tim Sexton appointed Gary Akers as his chief deputy, changes in the agency are well underway.

Akers, a former Huntington, W.Va., police lieutenant said residents of the county will soon see the benefits of his goals for the sheriff’s department.

"We’ve made great strides, in my opinion, here in a month," he said. "I think the people of Lawrence County are going to see a change real quick. We are becoming a people-oriented police agency."

Sexton said he believes Akers’ experience in Huntington will strengthen his administration.

"He has experience from the street level to the supervisory level," Sexton said. "He has a history, commitment, knowledge and experience to the investigation and enforcement of illegal drug trafficking. And that is exactly what the sheriff’s department has made a stronger commitment to."

Akers served as the commander of the Huntington Police Drug Unit, commander of the Huntington Area Violent Crimes/Drug Task Force and commanded the Huntington police SWAT team before he retired from the department as a 22-year veteran in September.

"I didn’t anticipate going back to work so soon," he said. "I was enjoying retirement, but (Sheriff) Tim Sexton came to me, told me his objectives and plans he was honest and he impressed me."

His decision to reenter law enforcement under Sexton’s administration called for a need to "make changes for the better" in the department, he added.

He said restoring the agency’s rapport is a big priority on his list of objectives.

"We want the people and the officers to know we’re here to serve the public," Akers said.

In addition to his stance against drugs, ensuring professionalism throughout the department has taken the forefront, he said.

"I’m a professional law enforcement officer," he said. "That’s not what I do, that’s what I am. My objective is to turn the sheriff’s department into a professional agency. That’s not just rhetoric, that’s the sheriff’s objectives and my goal is to see that it’s done."

And, Akers said the sheriff’s department has become more aggressive at deterring crimes such as burglaries and breaking and enterings.

"We’re seeing a really good attitude in the officers," he said. "They’re eager to learn, they’re wanting to learn more and overall they’re real positive about what they do."

Looking to the next four years, he said he’s looking forward to moving to the county and supporting the new sheriff.

"I’m very impressed with Tim Sexton’s methods of doing things," he said. "I think he’s an honest man. His heart is in the right place and I certainly think he has the needs of the citizens of Lawrence County in mind."