Posted: 3:50 p.m. MST
Sheriff-elect Leon Wilmot took over command from Sheriff Ralph Ogden Friday in a public swearing-in at the Yuma County Fairgrounds.
Organizers said Friday's ceremony was special because it was the first time the change of command was open to the public.
It was with military precision that Sheriff Ralph Ogden handed over command to Sheriff-elect Leon Wilmot.
"I feel truly blessed and honored," Wilmot said.
Wilmot has been with the Yuma County Sheriff's Office since 1987 when he was a Marine reserve.
His priorities as the new sheriff are to involve officers in the schools and to increase the presence of deputies on the streets to curb criminal activity, Wilmot said.
"But I think the important one that I'll be concentrating more on is the officers in the school right now because that's pretty serious that's going on in other parts of the country and we want to make sure that we don't have any of that coming into our community," Wilmot said.
Wilmot has also been chief deputy for the last eight years to Sheriff Ogden. Friday, Ogden had these words of advice:
"Over the last 27 years I've watched him grow--his last day as a chief deputy. Just because I did something doesn't necessarily make it right. But take your time, think it through, and just remember why he's here, and I know he will," Ogden said.
Several local leaders showed up for the ceremony with reminders of the challenges of protecting the Southwest Arizona community.
"The challenges are increasing given the way things are in the world today, and I think the economy has a lot to do with what happens," said Mayor Alan Krieger.
"As a representative in our community and the chief law enforcement officer, he has a large role and big shoes to fill. I have all the confidence in the world that he'll do a fine job," said Hon. John Nelson, Yuma County Superior Court Judge.
The last change of command was two decades ago when Sheriff Ogden was sworn in. He said he is only half-way retiring, as he will still have an active role in the community doing consulting for a drug law-enforcement group.