Hill takes over as Polk’s new sheriff

Published 8:07 pm Friday, November 21, 2008

Chief Deputy Tony Roberson was not sworn in with Hill. Also missing from the group were Det. Sgt. Nancy McKaig, Lt. Matt Prince, Sgt. Andrew Durham, Sgt. Josh Denton, Dep. Derrick Twitty and secretary Ariana Coreas. Sheriff Hill was meeting with county manager Ryan Whitson yesterday to begin to finalize which officers would stay and which would not.

Some officers and staff were back Friday night who either resigned under former sheriff Chris Abril or were fired. Some of the former staff included administrative assistant Kim Pack and former officers Randall Hodge, Ronnie Smith, Kaye Cannon and Kay Kimler.

The commissioners&squo; meeting room was packed with supporters who gave Hill a standing ovation after the swearing in ceremony Friday. The Polk County Board of Commissioners appointed Hill with a unanimous vote after receiving the nomination from the Polk County Democratic Executive Committee earlier Friday. The executive committee selected Hill as its nominee Thursday night.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

&dquo;I accept the honor and it&squo;s a privilege,&dquo; said Sheriff Hill. &dquo;I promise to do the best job to my ability.&dquo;

Hill was sworn in with his parents, Brooks and Pat Hill, at his side. Hill spoke of the officers and the sacrifices they have made and will continue to make.

Hill also said over the past couple of days he&squo;s had to make some of the toughest decisions of his life, speaking of which officers to keep and which to let go. Hill said he literally sat and cried for a few hours earlier Friday because of some of the decisions he had to make.

&dquo;I look for a bright future,&dquo; said Hill. &dquo;We&squo;ll do you proud, I assure you. This is something I&squo;m looking forward to and I&squo;m scared to death.&dquo;

He also asked for support from the public through this transition and thanked the public for its support so far.

Commissioners all spoke highly of Hill and welcomed him into office.

&dquo;Donald, I&squo;m glad you&squo;re here, buddy,&dquo; said commissioner Ted Owens. &dquo;We believe you&squo;ll do a good job not only for the sheriff&squo;s office but for the whole county.&dquo;

Commissioner Tom Pack congratulated Hill and said this change is a good thing for Polk County and that everybody needs to get back on track.

Commissioner Harry Denton mentioned that the job of law enforcement officers is dangerous and sometimes people don&squo;t stop and thank officers for what they do. Denton wished Hill well in the future.

Commissioner Warren Watson said he was impressed with the process of the Democratic Executive Committee Thursday night and impressed with Hill.

&dquo;Donald Hill promoted a team approach to law enforcement,&dquo; said Watson. &dquo;I think he&squo;ll bring integrity and honesty back to this office.&dquo;

&dquo;Sheriff Hill, we&squo;re so proud to have you as our sheriff tonight,&dquo; said commissioner chairman Tommy Melton. &dquo;This board is behind you.&dquo;

Hill replaces former sheriff&bsp; Abril, who resigned just before he pleaded guilty last Monday to two counts of felony solicitation to take liberties with a minor.

Hill, who was fired by Abril earlier this year, had worked for the sheriff&squo;s office through three sheriff administrations spanning 17&rac12; years. Hill was promoted to the rank of major by Abril and his last position at the sheriff&squo;s office was jail administrator.

Hill will serve the remainder of Abril&squo;s term, which will end in 2010.