By SHERRY DIGMON
News Staff Writer
“As a little boy, I was told that if I didn’t change my ways, my parents would be sitting in a courtroom crying one day,” Heath Jackson said.
Friday, January 11, they were indeed in the courtroom, but they weren’t crying. They were there to see their son sworn in as the sheriff of Escambia County. They were joined by dozens of other folks, so many that the seats were filled in the courtroom, and the back and sides of the room were lined with people.
Before administering the oath to Jackson, Presiding Judge Dave Jordan talked briefly about the history in “this room.”
“Sixteen years ago, Grover Smith stood here, and the oath was administered to that new sheriff,” he said.
Smith and Jackson ran against each other twice in previous elections, but Smith chose not to run for re-election last year, and Jackson was successful in his third try at the office.
With family standing beside and behind him, Jackson placed his left hand on the Bible, raise his right hand, and took the oath of office.
Sheriff Jackson then swore in his deputies.
The new sheriff had a stellar career in law enforcement in Escambia County, Fla., as evidenced by the number of co-workers and friends who came for his swearing in. Baldwin County Sheriff Hoss Mack also attended.
“Everybody you deal with brings something to the table and makes you the person you are,” Jackson said.
He talked about the phone call he received after the election from then-Sheriff Grover Smith offering him the opportunity to come to the sheriff’s office and become familiar with the department’s inner workings.
Jackson called Smith to the front of the room and presented him with a Henry rifle for 47 years of public service.