CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Although Mike Fraley’s new role as Carter County sheriff doesn’t begin until next month, he said he has already started working.

His first matter of business as sheriff-elect was announcing his selection for chief deputy, a role that will be crucial for the day-to-day operations of the sheriff’s office.

Fraley has chosen Jeff Gazzo, a Greeneville native who most recently served as the law enforcement training program director in Charlotte, North Carolina. Gazzo said he was in that role since March of 2007, officially leaving his post last Friday following the news of Fraley’s win on election night.

Gazzo has decades of experience in law enforcement but said a chief deputy role is ultimately where he wanted his career to land him.

He said he began his career in his hometown, serving Greene County as a reserve deputy while at the same time, achieving an associate’s degree in public safety.

Soon after, he pursued his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and graduated from East Tennessee State University. Following graduation, Gazzo said he worked in Atlanta for 11 years as an officer then came home to run the police academy in Greeneville, again, multi-tasking by pursuing his master’s degree while working. He then went on to lead the academy in Charlotte.

He told News Channel 11 that he’s thrilled to be returning to serve Northeast Tennessee. He said he hopes to bring a fresh perspective to the department.

“Most times, the worst thing you can hear in a workplace is ‘this is the way it’s always been done’ and that’s not always a good thing. I hope what I’m able to do is bring in an outside perspective. I’m completely unaware of how it’s always been done so I hope I can bring some innovative ideas that have not yet been tried,” said Gazzo.

Fraley said he couldn’t be more confident in his choice.

“I wanted to bring a professional in that knows law enforcement. He’s taught at police academies for a very long time, he has a master’s degree in criminal justice and he checked all the marks when I was looking for that right fit, and he is the right fit for the Carter County Sheriff’s Department,” said Fraley.

Fraley officially takes office on Sept. 1, that’s also when Gazzo will assume the chief deputy role.