MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - At the stroke of midnight, Robert Arnold officially became the new sheriff of Rutherford County. He won a bitter election against former sheriff Truman Jones who had been in office for some 28 years.
"I'm taking office right now," said Arnold as he walked into the sheriff's office at 12 a.m. Wednesday morning. "I'm ready to get to work."
Arnold said this was the first time since the election that he was allowed inside the sheriff's office. He invited NewsChannel 5 to come along as he took control.
Arnold said the transition between him and Jones was been anything but smooth. He said Jones was so bitter that he lost that he refused to take part in a transition.
"We spoke once, that was really it. There hasn't been a transition," said Arnold.
Arnold said changes to the department are on the way. His first step was to replace the former sheriff's top brass.
"You have to surround yourself with good people," said Arnold. "I just don't have confidence in them and their abilities to do their job."
One person whose job might be in jeopardy is Detective Ron Killings. He hit and killed an 11-year-old girl while on patrol. A jury found him not guilty of reckless homicide and Jones hired him back.
Arnold promised if he won the election, Killings would be out. Wednesday morning, Arnold would not say for sure if Killings would get fired.
"I will have to talk to him first thing in the morning. I want to leave it at that for now," said Arnold.
Arnold appeared to get misty eyed when he sat down at the sheriff's desk for the very first time.
"I wouldn't know how to describe it. It's very emotional," he said.
Jones left behind no note or instructions for the incoming sheriff; just a clean, empty desk and one apparent gift - a policeman's bible.