By Kaitlin Fleming/Staff Correspondent
On Monday, Jan. 13, Jonathon Horton was sworn in as Etowah County’s new sheriff. The ceremony took place outside of the sheriff’s department. Despite the frigid temperatures, over a hundred individuals gathered around the parking lot and sidewalks to watch Sheriff Horton take the oath of office.
During the ceremony, Kate Falcon, a member of the band Sweet Tea Trio sang a rendition of “God Bless America.” Todd Walker, Horton’s pastor, prayed for the county and the new team of law enforcers.
“Today Jonathon Horton begins a very important journey in life, one that cannot be taken lightly,” said Todd Walker.
Walker went on to say that Horton’s mantra should be “I must do justly, love mercy and walk humbly before my God” and that the office should not be used for personal gain, but to serve the people of Etowah County.
Horton won the GOP primary in June of 2018 against former sheriff Todd Entrekin. There was no Democratic nominee.
“It’s been a long six months,” said Horton during a phone interview on Tuesday. “We are just humbled by the outpouring of support. For people to stand outside when it was that cold was heartwarming. My family and I just basked in it for a moment and then we shook ourselves out of it and knew that work needed to get done.”
Horton said he has a lot of plans to make Etowah County a safer place and those plans start with tackling the drug problem.
“Most of our crime is drug related,” said Horton. “I want to help people with drug addictions and get them started on a better path. Not only get people in jail and get them off of their substances but to give them GEDs and diplomas and teach them trades and to bring in unemployment services and give them the availability to not only stay off drugs, but to find something else to do with their time.”
Horton also stressed his belief in having an open-door policy.
“I want to be accessible to everyone here,” said Horton. “We’re going to be getting out in the community more and I will be talking to as many people as I can. I want to be there for everyone.”
Horton said the transition into the new office has been great.
“It’s been a great couple of days,” said Horton in a phone interview on Tuesday. “My first day in the office was Saturday and so far everyone has been on top of everything.They’ve really been working hard.”
When asked what he looked forward to most, Horton said he looks forward to “making Etowah County a safe place to live in, work in, worship in, learn in and play in.”
“With this job, when I wake up in the morning I’m excited to go to work. I wake up and it’s not quite time yet but I lay there just wishing it was time. I’m happy to go to work every single day.”