(SAVANNAH, Mo.) As 2020 drew to a close Thursday, so did sheriff Bryan Atkins’ career with the Andrew County Sheriff's Office.
Atkins retired on New Year's Eve, capping off a career with the sheriff's department that spanned nearly 40 years.
Atkins said his desire to help people led him to begin his career with the department in March of 1981.
"My training was a three week academy," Atkins said. "Police officers now have to go through a six month training."
Most of Atkins' time with the department saw him holding multiple positions.
"[I] worked my way from deputy dispatcher, did a little bit of bailiff service, and road patrol." Atkins said.
In 2008, Atkins decided to run for sheriff, he ran three times for the job.
While serving as sheriff, Atkins said his greatest accomplishment was giving the county a brand new sheriff’s office and jail facility.
Despite criticism over the jail from some, he said it's been a benefit for the county.
"That was my goal," He said. "That goal was achieved, still continues today, [and] I’m sure it’s going to continue on very well in the future."
Atkins said there’ve been many ups and downs in his time with the sheriff’s department, he credited the people of both the department and the county for making him a better sheriff.
When asked why he's retiring now, Atkins said it was time to move on.
"It was just time that I retire," Atkins said. "[I] didn’t want to get too old to where I couldn't enjoy life a little bit."
Sheriff Grant Gillett took over as of New Year's Day 2021 after winning the 2020 election for sheriff, meanwhile Atkins said he plans to stay in the county and spend more time with his family.