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Several counties across East Tennessee are preparing for new leadership in law enforcement.

Monroe, Grainger, and Union counties all have new sheriffs and many newly appointed positions within those sheriffs' offices.

There are seven newly appointed people working in the Union County Sheriff's Office.

Union County Sheriff Billy Breeding said he's following state employment laws that allow him to pick and choose who works in the sheriff's office.

Breeding took office when the calendar flipped over to September. He's worked in law enforcement for 22 years, spending the last 10 in Union County.

He wouldn't go into detail about how he selected his seven appointees, other than to say he had serving the people of Union County in mind.

"Tennessee is an at-will employment state and at the sheriff's department, we're not civil service," said Breeding.

He says his goal is simple when hiring in the office.

"Assembling the best staff you can to do the job."

Comparing what's happened in Union County to Knox County, there's only one job that's appointed in Knox County, the chief deputy. All other employees who have worked for KCSO for more than one year are protected by the merit council.

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