Deputy Sheriff John Ryan was appointed as Carter County interim Sheriff on Friday morning during a special meeting of the Board of County Commissioners.
Ryan was appointed following the voluntary suspension of 65-year-old Sheriff Milton Anthony, who is facing felony charges of bribery and sexual battery. County Commissioner Jerry Alvord said Friday, Anthony’s suspension started Thursday.
“It was told to us it was going to start the day prior, through emails, letters, there was potentially a little confusion. We were uncomfortable to act on this until we had something in writing,” Alvord said.
The district attorney’s office received the official letter Thursday afternoon from Marshall County, he said.
“We had all the signatures that we felt comfortable moving
forward with the appointment,” Alvord said.
Ryan was chosen after much discussion, consideration and examination of possible candidates, the commissioners said. Ryan served as interim Chief of Police for Ardmore Police Department in 2007, has had over 20 years of experience with APD and has served as Deputy Sheriff for Carter County since his retirement from APD in 2009.
“I think the first thing that got me was his service has been exceptional,” Alvord said. “We felt that at a time like this, those experiences would be invaluable. It’s hard to find somebody with that well-rounded of a background.”
Alvord said while the commissioners do the appointing, they knew they needed to do what was best for the county. Ryan will serve as interim sheriff, “until there’s a resolution in whatever fashion that may be — until the trial is resolved, or an election,” Alvord said.
“This is a decision that I haven’t took lightly,” said County Commissioner Joe David McReynolds, adding that he talked to a lot of different officials, talked to the public, had many interviews and prayed a lot.
Since Ryan currently serves as court security at the Carter County Courthouse, Alvord said Ryan will have to fulfill empty spots and put people where he deems necessary, since, as of Friday morning, Ryan is active sheriff.
“He’s not candidate. He is fulfilling an empty spot until resolution, but he has full powers of the sheriff,” Alvord said.
The commissioners said they believe Ryan was the right choice and his service to Ardmore and Carter County speaks for itself.
“There’s always a concern when times like this happen that we want the public to know that our sheriff’s office is still operating with honesty and integrity and they are protected, that they are taken care of, especially at a time like this with Fourth of July weekend,” Alvord said.
Ryan was expected to be sworn in Friday.