It was not unexpected. Sheriff David Davis looked around his complex when the offer of early retirements was first made. He could probably imagine which of his personnel would likely be candidates to take the deal. The Sheriff’s Office was blessed with a wealth of experience, deputies with decades of service, but the offer, in the words of 44-year veteran Capt. Jimmy Barbee, was one they could not refuse. Barbee joined 55 others including five majors, one corporal, eight captains, 14 lieutenants, five sergeants and 17 deputies to hand in their retirement papers. While Davis is putting a great spin on the retirements, any organization that loses that much experience will have some issues, and while all of the issues are not negative, the transition will take some time.
With the higher ranks opening up, those remaining can see a path to more responsibility. Davis said he wants to re-evaluate his command structure. Every organization becomes a bit bloated over time. The downside is obvious, particularly when the ranks are already short of people. Deputies will be called on to do more.
We can, as a community, say thank you to the latest retirees. There’s a reason we have weathered storms that could have turned very ugly. The relationship here between law enforcement and the public is something to be envied and now it’s time for a new crop of deputies to shape the future of the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office.