Sheriff Wayne Anderson reflects on 20 years as Sullivan County sheriff

SULLIVAN COUNTY, TN (WJHL)- - For the first time in 20 years, a new leader will be sworn in as the Sullivan County sheriff.

Sheriff-elect Jeff Cassidy will be sworn in Friday in Kingsport.

It comes after a controversial election in which he beat longtime Sheriff Wayne Anderson, after decades of service.

News Channel 11's Caroline Corrigan sat down with Sheriff Anderson to find out his plans moving forward.

As his time as sheriff comes to an end, Sheriff Anderson said he no regrets.

"It's been the hardest job I've ever loved," Anderson said.

He started his career in law enforcement exactly where it would end.

"In 1972 is really where it began," Anderson said. "I became a Reserve Deputy at the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office."

In 1974, Anderson was hired at the Kingsport Police Department, where he would work for the next 24 years.

In 1998, he was elected as the Sullivan County sheriff and would go on to win five more terms.

Over the years, he said he witnessed the drug epidemic form.

"When I first came into office there were certain types of drugs you had marijuana, cocaine, those types of drugs and of course nowadays it's like a buffet table, every type of drug you can imagine," Anderson said.

He said nothing could prepare him for the loss of two deputies.

"The most depressing thing I've ever had to go through is two officers killed in the line of duty back in 2002," Anderson said. "That was the hardest thing I've ever gone through."

This year served as another challenge when he was voted out after years of service.

"I know the lawsuit is probably what beat me on this election, when I sued the county for the employees, because employees, they just weren't making the money that other departments were making, and they were leaving us," Anderson said. "We needed better equipment, more people and I don't regret that lawsuit. Time heals everything and we'll move on, I hope the new sheriff moves on and I wish him the best."

After the election, Anderson announced he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

"I didn't want people to know it because I was in the race --- and that's not something you can back out of," Anderson said.

He said he is filling fine and plans to start treatment in September.




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