Sheriff says power struggle brewing in Rockdale Co.

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MONROE COUNTY, Ga. - After a bitter election, the newly elected sheriff in Rockdale County said he's been shut out of headquarters and was even ordered to turn in his county car.

Channel 2's Sophia Choi spoke with the sheriff-elect Eric Levett about what's turning into a tough transition of power.

She caught up with Levett Friday at his graduation from the academy for new sheriffs at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Monroe County.

The sergeant won the election by just 34 votes to become the first African-American sheriff in the history of Rockdale County.

"Losing with such small numbers, I'm sure it's hard on him," Levett said, referring to the still sitting sheriff Jeff Wigington, who put Levett on leave, and asked him to work out of the southside precinct during the transition.

The setup is a trailer that sits behind an Ingles grocery store off Highway 20.

But Levett said working a transition out of a trailer is nearly impossible because, for one thing, there are no working computers. Levett also said he doesn't even have the key to get in.

Wigington, meanwhile, said allowing Levett to work out of headquarters would be disruptive to his administration and that he's offered to work out any differences, but Levett has never called him.

In a statement, Wigington pointed out numerous ways he's tried to help the incoming sheriff, like allowing him to pre-qualify on firearms, and providing a "timely response to requests for information for documents, records and diagrams."

Still, Levett said the lack of access is concerning some deputies – and at least one county leader.

"There's been some gap in time in terms of the transition. Being able to get in to do an assessment of the department and the men, do an audit of the equipment," Rockdale County Commissioner Oz Nesbitt said.

The sitting sheriff said Levett can do all those things when he takes over on Jan. 1.


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