Residents in Fulton County knew last spring a new sheriff would replace Lloyd Martz after he announced his retirement from office.
What many residents didn't expect is that nearly all of the deputies who were employed at the Fulton County Sheriff's Department at that time would also be employed elsewhere.
"Yeah, there's some new faces around here," new Fulton County Sheriff Walter Dillinger said Jan. 27 from his office in Salem.
Dillinger said over the last year five officers -- Kevin Burns, Scott Holloway, James Laney, Terry Walker and Ryan Burmingham, have been hired as deputies.
He said this group of deputies may be new to the Fulton County Sheriff's Office, but they have a wealth of law enforcement experience.
Laney served as a police officer in Cato, La., for 21 years. He won a commendation for valor while serving in Cato after shooting a would-be assailant through a wall during a gunfight, Dillinger said.
He said Laney was shot in the arm during the assault.
Burmingham (Bradford Police) and Holloway (Horseshoe Bend Police) have both previously served as law officers.
Burns, a former Marine who served in Iraq during Operation Dessert Storm, is currently in the Police Academy.
Walker has no previous law enforcement experience. "But he (Walker) is learning fast," Dillinger said. "I think these guys are doing a great job."
Chief deputy Paul Martin, a former Fulton County sheriff, is one of the few deputies who remain from the Martz tenure.
Dillinger said his transition into the sheriff's office has been harder for him than his predecessors.
"This job is more work than it used to be," Dillinger said. "The drug problem has exploded over the last several years and people are always coming in with problems."
Despite the difficulties of the job, Dillinger said he is grateful county residents gave him the chance to serve as sheriff. "It's nice to know they have trust in me," he said.
Dillinger said he has instituted several changes since he became sheriff. He said on weekend nights four deputies are on patrol as opposed to the three or fewer officers who were on patrol in the past.
One program Dillinger hopes to institute in the near future is a drug awareness program with the local schools.
"Maybe if we can get to these kids young enough, we won't be seeing them downstairs in the jail," Dillinger said.