Bryson first to announce interest in Sheriff's post

By Vicki Hyatt | Dec 26, 2012

Haywood County Sheriff Bobby Suttles’ announcement that he is stepping down before completing his four-year term has sparked a flurry of speculation about his successor.

Suttles' Chief Deputy Larry Bryson is the first to announce he will actively seek the post. By law, Bryson will serve as sheriff between the time Suttles leaves office and a successor is named.

Bryson, 57, said he has been training for the position of sheriff for the past 20 years, and has been handling the day-to-day operations of the office.

"I am well-versed in that job and I intend to be a contender," he said. "I bring a lot of experience."

Because Suttles ran on the Democratic ticket, the party will name a replacement until the voters have a chance to elect a sheriff in the 2014 election.

A number of individuals have been mentioned as possible candidates for the Democratic appointment, including former Haywood County Sheriff Tom Alexander, Canton Police Chief Bryan Whitner, Waynesville Det. Jeff Haynes and Lt. Greg Christopher with the N.C. Highway Patrol.

Both Haynes and Whitner said they were not interested in the post, and Alexander said he would serve in the interim if requested to do so by the party. He said he would not be actively seeking to do so, however.

Christopher confirmed he will be retiring from the highway patrol at the end of February, and said he would be making an announcement regarding his future plans in early January.

Lt. Bill Wilke, district commander with the Asheville Police Department, ran on the Republican ticket for sheriff in 2010 and said he plans to run in 2014.

In a letter to the Haywood County Commissioners, Suttles said his resignation will be effective Feb. 8. The executive committee of the Democratic Party in Haywood has 30 days from the resignation to present their choice to the commissioners, who will formally make the appointment.

Whoever is appointed to the post will face a vigorous election in 2014, perhaps with primary opposition, but certainly in the General Election.

Lt. Bill Wilke, district commander with the Asheville Police Department, ran on the Republican ticket for sheriff in 2010. The long-time Clyde resident finished strong against Suttles, who was appointed to his position in 2009, and said he plans to run in 2014.


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