published Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Eric Watson resigns from Bradley County Sheriff's Office

The Bradley County Sheriff's Office hasn't released any information on why a 20-year department veteran and state representative abruptly resigned Monday.

Capt. Eric Watson handed in his resignation, but the sheriff's office is waiting for him to make a statement today before commenting, said sheriff's office spokesman Bob Gault.

"We're giving him the opportunity to say what he wants," Gault said Tuesday afternoon.

Watson also is a Republican state representative for District 22, which covers Meigs and Polk counties and part of Bradley County.

While Watson didn't return calls seeking comment, a legislative spokesman said he was resigning from the sheriff's office to pursue several professional opportunities.

House Republican Caucus spokesman Brent Leatherwood declined to elaborate on those opportunities.

Steve Bebb, 10th Judicial Circuit district attorney, said he hasn't decided if his office needs to open an internal investigation into Watson, but he declined to say why.

Leatherwood said Watson's resignation had nothing to do with any kind of investigation.

Watson, who joined the sheriff's office in 1991, was promoted to captain in 2010.

He was elected as representative in 2006 and he is currently chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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