Command Staff

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Name: Thomas Pinyan
Rank: Lt. Colonel
Assignment: Field Operations Commander
Phone Number: 678-493-4200

Lt. Colonel Tommy Pinyan currently serves as the Field Operations Commander for the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office. His command encompasses the Divisions of Uniformed Patrol, Special Operations, and Criminal Investigations.

Lt. Colonel Pinyan, a lifelong resident of Cherokee County, started his law enforcement career with the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office in 1994 as a Detention Officer. Throughout his career, he has served in many leadership roles including Uniform Patrol Precinct Commander, K-9 Unit Commander, Criminal Investigation Commander, Narcotics Deputy Commander and Internal Affairs Supervisor. Lt. Colonel Pinyan is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, class # 266.  He holds a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Justice Studies from Georgia Southern University, a Master of Public Administration from Columbus State University and is a graduate of the Columbus State University Professional Management Program.  Lt. Colonel Pinyan has Intermediate, Supervision, and Managerial POST certifications.

Lt. Colonel Pinyan is married, with two children and they are members of Canton First United Methodist Church.  He also volunteers as an Assistant Scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts of America.

Name: William Smith
Rank: Major
Assignment: Commander of Head Quarters Operations
Phone Number: 678-493-4155

Major William J. Smith is currently the Commander of Head Quarters Operations at the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office.  He started his career with the Sheriff’s Office in 1999 after graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Jersey City State College.  He currently has a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Southwest University and a second Master’s Degree in Public Administration, at the Georgia Law Enforcement Command College in Columbus Georgia.

Major Smith is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy, class #257.  His assignments with the Sheriff’s Office began at the Adult Detention Center where he became a DTO (Detention Training Officer). Major Smith then moved onto various Precincts in Uniform Patrol where he became an FTO (Field Training Officer), Warrant/Civil Unit Commander, joined the agency’s SWAT TEAM where he held the position of Swat Commander, held the position of Agent with CMANS (Cherokee Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad) and Training Director for the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office.

Name: Charles McMahan
Rank: Major
Assignment: Commander of Jail Operations
Phone Number: 678-493-4150

Major McMahan began his career with the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office in 1993, after being Honorably Discharged from the United States Navy.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Organizational Management – Leadership from Reinhardt University.

Major McMahan holds a Master’s Degree in Public Safety Administration through Columbus State University’s Command College Program.  Captain McMahan previously served in the Uniform Patrol Division.

Name: John New
Rank: Captain
Assignment: Uniform Patrol Commander
Phone Number: 770-479-4555

Captain John New began his career with Cherokee County in 1993 as a 911 Dispatcher. Captain New eventually went on to work as a Deputy Sheriff in the Adult Detention Center, Uniform Patrol, and Narcotics Investigations.

Captain New currently serves as the Uniform Patrol Commander.  Captain New joined the Agency’s SWAT Team in February of 2000, where is he currently serving as the Team Commander.  Captain New is a graduate of the Professional Management Program, hosted by Columbus State University.

Captain New has a Bachelors’s Degree in Business Administration from Reinhardt University where he graduated with honors.  Captain New is currently working on earning his Master’s Degree in Public Safety Administration from Columbus State Unversity.  Captain New graduated from the 261st Session of the FBI National Academy.

Name: Chris Sims
Rank: Captain
Assignment: Court Services Commander
Phone Number: 678-493-6180

Captain Sims began his law enforcement career in 1997 with the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office in the Adult Detention Center. Captain Sims has served in many leadership roles including Precinct Commander over two precincts, Assistant Division Commander in Criminal Investigations, Assistant Division Commander for Training Unit and Internal Affairs Supervisor. Captain Sims was assigned to the Multi-Agency SWAT team for 18 years, where he was the Sniper Team Leader. He holds a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Organizational Management-Leadership from Reinhardt University, a Master of Public Safety Administration from Columbus State University and is a graduate of the Columbus State University Professional Management Program. Captain Sims holds multiple POST certifications to include state General Instructor and Firearms Instructor.

Name: John Gunning
Rank: Captain
Assignment: Director of Training
Phone Number: 678-880-4843

Captain John Gunning is the Director of Training at the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office. His responsibilities include developing, implementing and managing all training and education for the Sheriff’s Office. He began his law enforcement career with the Rome Police Department in 1996 as a Patrol Officer and continued working in law enforcement narcotics interdiction while serving with the military until 2016. Upon his military retirement, Captain Gunning joined the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office after serving for 28 years in the United States Army and National Guard.

Captain Gunning retired as the Brigade Command Sergeant Major of the 201st Regional Support Group Homeland Response Force and has over 24 years of law enforcement experience ranging from uniformed patrol to narcotics interdiction. Captain Gunning is a graduate of The United States Army’s Sergeants Major Academy and holds numerous law enforcement and military instructor certifications.

Captain Gunning holds a Bachelor’s degree.

Name: Daniel P. Higgins
Rank: Captain
Assignment: Commander of Office of Professional Standards
Phone Number: 678-493-4200

Captain Daniel Higgins currently serves as the Commander of Professional Standards.

Captain Higgins’ career began in 1997 with the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office after serving four honorable years in the United States Marine Corps. Captain Higgins started in the Adult Detention Center and throughout his career, he served in many leadership roles including supervisor of the county’s Traffic Unit, Uniform Patrol Precinct Commander, Internal Affairs Supervisor, and Assistant Team Leader on the S.W.A.T Team. He spent time in the Narcotics Division as well. He holds a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Operational Management Leadership from Reinhardt University, a Master of Public Safety Administration from Columbus State University and is a graduate of the Columbus State University Professional Management Program. Captain Higgins has Supervision and Managerial POST certifications.

Name: Kimberly Thompson
Rank: Captain
Assignment: Operational Support Commander
Phone Number: 678-493-4200

Captain Thompson started her law enforcement career with the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office in 1994 as a CMANS Agent. Throughout her career, she has served in leadership roles in these departments; Uniform Patrol, Adult Detention Center, Criminal Investigation.  Captain Thompson is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, class #235.  She holds a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern Indiana, a Master of Public Administration from Columbus State University and is a graduate of the Columbus State University Professional Management Program.

Captain Thompson has two children and is active in the Boys Scouts of America. She also participates in her community social organization.

Name: Mark Anderson
Rank: Captain
Assignment: Commander of Criminal Investigations, SWAT Commander
Phone Number: 678-493-4200

Captain Mark M. Anderson has worked at the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office for 17 years and his current assignment is the Commander of Criminal Investigations and commander of the agency S.W.A.T. team.  He is responsible for supervising the Property Crimes, Financial Crimes, Crimes against Children, Crimes against Persons, Intelligence and Forensics Units. Prior to his law enforcement career, Captain Anderson served 6 years in the United States Marine Corps.

Captain Anderson is a graduate of the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety School of Police Staff and Command and has completed the Columbus State University Professional Management Program.  Captain Anderson has a Bachelors’ Degree from Reinhardt University.

Name: Jay Baker
Rank: Captain
Assignment: Director of Communications and Community Relations
Phone Number: 678-493-4200

Captain Jay Baker is a lifelong resident of Cherokee County and has worked for the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office over 26 years. After graduating from Cherokee High School Captain Baker attended the University of Georgia were he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice before beginning his career with the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office. Captain Baker also obtained a Master’s Degree from Columbus State University.

Prior to becoming the agency’s Public Information Officer, Captain Baker worked in the Adult Detention Center, Uniform Patrol Division, the Cherokee Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad and in Criminal Investigations. Captain Baker is the Director of Communications and Community Relations for the agency. He is responsible for dealing with media and public requests for information. Captain Baker also manages the agency’s social media to include Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

He is married and the father of three children. Captain Baker is a member of Sixes United Methodist Church.

Name: Pete Turcotte
Rank: Captain
Assignment: Commander of Special Operations
Phone Number: 678-493-4200

Captain Pete J. Turcotte has worked at the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office for 21 years and is currently assigned as the Commander of Special Operations. His command encompasses the Traffic Enforcement Unit, Motor Cycle Unit, K9 Unit, Hostage Negotiation Team, Warrant Unit, Strike Team, The Reserve Unit, and Crime Suppression. Captain Turcotte has served in many different aspects within the agency, including Uniform Patrol, Criminal Investigations, Cherokee Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad, and the Traffic Enforcement Unit. He is currently working on his Bachelors’ Degree through Reinhardt University.

Name: Erik Britt
Rank: Captain
Assignment: Commander of Administrative Services
Phone Number: 678-493-4200

Captain Erik Britt currently serves as the Commander of the Administrative Services Division. Captain Britt began his career with the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office in 1998. Prior to his current assignment, Captain Britt worked in the Adult Detention Center, Court Services, and Uniform Patrol, among his other assignments.

Captain Britt holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Liberty University and a Master of Public Administration degree from Reinhardt University. In addition, Captain Britt holds multiple POST certifications to include Intermediate, Advanced, Senior Deputy, Supervisory, and Managerial certificates.

Name: Irene Ruiz
Rank: Captain
Assignment: Adult Detention Center Commander
Phone Number: 678-493-4200