DeSoto County Sheriff-Elect Thomas E. Tuggle has announced his administration’s senior leadership team, adding that nearly 98 percent of Sheriff Bill Rasco’s staff will remain with the department.
Here is a rundown of the senior leadership team announced first to DeSoto County News on Friday:
Chief Justin Smith remains in the role of Chief Deputy. Chief Deputy Smith has demonstrated a solid commitment to preserving a positive quality of life for our citizens. His ability to use progressive techniques to identify and apprehend dangerous criminals and his work with other agencies has been commendable. Chief Deputy Smith is an FBI National Academy graduate, and his extensive background in VICE Operations, tactics, and investigations equips him to lead our department with expertise and a profound commitment to public service. Chief Smith is a lifelong Desoto Countian.
LeAnn Farr is the new Director of the Desoto County Sheriff’s Department’s Adult and Juvenile Detention Centers. LeAnn began her career in 2004 with the Olive Branch Police Department. She started as a patrolman and progressed to the rank of Major. Her responsibilities were managing the Training Division, Accreditation, Internal Affairs, School Resource Officers, Evidence, Special Operations, and Public Affairs. LeAnn maintains standards for national accreditation through CALEA and has maintained Olive Branch’s National Accreditation since 2009. LeAnn will be instrumental in achieving national accreditation for our Adult and Juvenile Detention Centers. She also served as the state’s coordinator for the National LawFit Challenge—the premier fitness competition for law enforcement officers.
Major Steve Palmer remains in his position of responsibility for professional standards and internal affairs. He also oversees the Training and Aviation divisions, utilizing his academy and flight instructor certifications. Major Palmer also worked in the Criminal Investigation Division, where he guided the department through the certification process for the new FBI crime-data reporting system – NIBRS – making DCSD the first sheriff’s department in the state to earn that recognition. Major Palmer earned a Ph.D. from the University of Mississippi after completing his dissertation examining police/labor relations in Memphis. He is also a graduate of the Mississippi Command College.
Major Ray Henley will remain in his role over the Fugitive/Courts Division, where he manages the complex daily interactions between the Desoto County Sheriff’s Department, the courts, and the correctional system. Major Henley started with the Desoto County Sheriff’s Department as a patrol deputy in 2000. He was promoted to sergeant in 2002 and lieutenant the following year while serving in the Patrol Division. After a short stint in investigations, he returned to patrol and was promoted to captain in 2014. He has also served as SWAT commander and a sniper team leader. His contribution has enabled the Desoto County Sheriff’s Department’s Fugitive Division to be recognized as one of the best in the country.
Captain Jonathan Poe has been promoted to Major over Patrol Operations. Major Poe started his career in Law enforcement in 2007, joining the Desoto County Sheriff’s Department in 2012. Throughout those years, he has served in various capacities, including Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Criminal Investigations, Motors Unit, and the School Resource Division. In 2014, he was promoted to sergeant, then in 2016, lieutenant in the Patrol Division. Later that year, he assumed the role of lieutenant over the School Resource Division, Motors Unit, and the DUI unit simultaneously. In 2020, he was appointed captain of the Patrol Division, where he oversaw all patrol operations. Some of Major Poe’s tertiary duties include accident reconstructionist, lead driving instructor, and fleet manager. As a resident of Desoto County, he is committed to the safety of all citizens and strives to ensure an excellent quality of life for our residents.
Captain Juan Martinez will serve as the Department’s Executive Officer to the Sheriff. He began his career with the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department in December 2010. As a patrolman, he became a field training officer and an Honor Guard team member. After transferring to the Special Investigation Division in 2013, Martinez rose from agent to sergeant and ultimately to lieutenant. He also served as a task force officer with the FBI Safe Streets Task Force. Simultaneously, he was a member of the Desoto County Sheriff’s Department’s SWAT Team and served as assistant team leader. After spending eight years in the Special Investigation Division and on the SWAT team, Martinez was promoted to Captain of Support Services. In this role, he currently leads forty-eight deputies from three divisions under his command: School Resource Officers, K9, and Motors Unit. He will carry the rank of Major.
Captain Jeremy Dodson remains in his role over Investigative Services at the Desoto County Sheriff’s Department. Dodson graduated from Bethel University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He was inspired to pursue a career in law enforcement after receiving an Honorable Discharge from the United States Marine Corps. Dodson started his law enforcement career in the Desoto County Sheriff’s Department jail before being assigned to enforcement; he eventually moved into investigations and was finally promoted through the ranks to Captain of Investigative Services and commander of the DCSD SWAT team. Dodson also serves on the executive board of the Mississippi Tactical Officers Association as Vice President of the Northern Region; he has instructed the Desoto County Sheriff’s Department’s Sniper Course since 2017.
“Together, these senior leaders embody the core values of our Sheriff’s department,” Tuggle said. “I am confident that we will continue to uphold the highest standards of safety, integrity, and community service under their guidance. Please join me in warmly welcoming our esteemed senior administration members.”