New Logan County Sheriff Stephen Stratton moved into his office a few days early after his predecessor, Wallace Whittaker, retired effective at the end of December and has been working hard to get the transition under way.

"It's been exciting and overwhelming," Stratton said. "I worked hard to get here and now that I'm here, I can't wait to get started."

Most elected officials will take office on Monday, but Stratton got a head start this week. Before winning the primary and general elections last year, Stratton had spent the previous 20 years working in the Logan County Sheriff's Department, the last 10 of them while serving as Whittaker's second-in-command.

And because of that experience, Stratton said the transition to him as the county's top law enforcement official will be a smooth one.

"We're not going to miss a beat," Stratton said. "The transition will be easy on our deputies."

Stratton inherits a fully staffed department and said he is not going to be coming in and making any big staff changes.

"We're going to have a little bit of reorganization, but no sweeping changes," he said. "I like that we're going to have a different energy with me here though. We're going to be getting back to basics."

Stratton said some of the main things he wants to achieve is to improve community service from the department, have better communication with the public and repair any distrust that the public might have in the department.

"We have a good department and a good bunch of deputies," Stratton said. "And I want everyone to know that and see the good job they're doing."

Some of the things Stratton plans on implementing includes putting an emphasis back on the Neighborhood Watch program, increasing cooperation with the Russellville Police Department with initiatives like the Citizens Police Academy and using more modern methods in the department.

"I'd like to use technology and data to be more focused in certain areas," Stratton said. "If we look at the data and find that there is a high number of traffic accidents or calls in one particular area, we will look into doing more direct patrols in that area."

A long-term goal Stratton wants to achieve is to have the sheriff's department accredited through KACo, the Kentucky Association of Counties.

"It's a long, hard process," Stratton said. "But it's one that would benefit everyone from our deputies to the general public."

Stratton said that most county sheriff's departments are not accredited, but he thinks the benefits far outweighs the hard work it will take to earn the status.

"It will probably take us a couple years at least to do that, but it's something I want to see happen," he said.

Stratton also thanked former the former sheriff for the good job he did while leading the department for the past 16 years.

"I learned a lot from Wallace and I appreciate his service to this county," Stratton said.