Warren County Sheriff-Elect Brett Hightower shares plans for future of department

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- There's a new sheriff in town, and his name is Brett Hightower. The midterm elections for the Warren County office showed Hightower received over 6,000 more votes than the incumbent, Jerry "Peanuts" Gaines.

Signs still lined some neighborhoods on Wednesday in support of Gaines, who held the role as sheriff for 40 years, the longest ever for Warren County.

Going forward now, sheriff-elect Hightower discussed ways to keep the department open to ideas.

"I love to let people have their voice be heard," said Hightower. "We will have an open-door policy here at the sheriff's department, so people can always come in, meet with me, talk with me, and I want to be very available."

He ran on a platform for safety and fiscal responsibility. He said he plans on navigating the budget, looking into any issues regarding having adequate manpower.

Hightower said he's heard many concerns voiced from community members, such as speeding, school safety issues, and earlier response times.

"We're putting in so many more houses; so many more apartments out into the county -- so many more calls for service are continuing to happen," said Hightower. "A lot more accidents or accidents are happening out in the county. And we just need to look at how we're going to be growing this agency to reflect this community as well."

He said, prior to the election, he's kept up communication with the department as well, and plans to turn to them at the beginning of his tenure for input on what they think should be done differently.

"Throughout this race, I've had a lot of communication with the deputies that work here," Hightower said. "We have talked about their ideas, some of their vision...I look forward to continuing those conversations with some of those I haven't talked with yet, and so I'm just excited about that opportunity."

In response to the question about retaining those currently in the department, he said, "Where people are, initially when I go in there, is where people will be."

He said he will be adding a position for Kevin Wiles, a Bowling Green Police retiree, to help with restructuring.

The election now over, he's excited for what's to come.

"I just look forward to serving [the community] in so many different areas, in so many different ways, and that we can do this together," Hightower said.

He will be sworn into the role in January 2019.

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