Eric Watson’s long career as a public servant began in 1991, when he began working in law enforcement for the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office as a community service officer. From 1995 to 1998, Eric served as a Deputy Sheriff for the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. In 1999, he returned to the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, earning a promotion to Captain. From 2000 to 2005, Eric also served as a state law enforcement officer for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

In January of 2006, Eric Watson was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in which he served five terms representing the 22nd district which encompasses Meigs, Polk, and Bradley Counties. In 2012, he was appointed Chair of the powerful House Criminal Justice Committee by Speaker Beth Harwell. He also served on the State Government Committee and the Calendar and Rules Committee.

In 2014, the residents of Bradley County elected Eric Watson as the Sheriff of Bradley County. Over his 24 years as a public servant, Eric has been involved in many philanthropic efforts and has won numerous awards. Most recently, he was given the 2013 Housing Hero Award, 2012 Veterans of Foreign Wars Loyalty Day Award, 2012 Best Political Leader of Bradley County, 2012 TBI Law Enforcement Award, and he was the “2011 Legislator of the Year” by the Tennessee District Attorneys Generals Conference.

In 2010, Eric was awarded both the Tennessee Fraternal Order of Police’s “Outstanding Service Award” and the “Outstanding Representative Award” by the County Officials Association of Tennessee. In 2008, the Tennessee Realtor Association awarded him “Legislator of the Year.”

Eric’s long career in law enforcement began with an impressive education. He is a graduate of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation State Academy – Class President, Tennessee Sheriff’s School, Tennessee Law Enforcement Academy, Tennessee POST Instructor Development School, Tennessee Public School System, University of Tennessee – Martin Civil Warrant School, Fox Valley Technical College and Tennessee Supreme Court on Courthouse Security, and the United States Marshall’s Service Training Academy. He is also a State of Tennessee Certified Handgun Instructor and Boater Safety Education Instructor. In addition to his law enforcement education, Eric also graduated from Andersonville Seminary and has a Masters Degree.

A life-long Republican, Eric was selected by the Tennessee Republican Party in 2008 to serve as a Tennessee at-large delegate for the Republican National Convention. He also served as an Honorary State Chair of the Tennessee Leadership Team for presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who went on to win Tennessee.

In 2000, he developed a program for needy children called “Coats for the Cold” that he still continues today. In 2003, he was given a Bradley County Public Service award in recognition of his efforts.  Eric is married and resides in Cleveland where he and his family attend First Baptist Church.


  • 24 Cumulative years in Local and State Government
  • Graduate of the Tennessee Bureau Investigation State Academy- Class President
  • Graduate of the Tennessee Sheriffs School
  • Graduate of the Tennessee Law Enforcement Academy
  • Graduate of the Tennessee Public School System
  • United States Marshall Service Academy, Graduate
  • University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Professional Certificate
  • University of Tennessee Martin, Professional Certificate
  • US Department of Homeland Security, Professional Certificate
  • Andersonville Theological Seminary, Masters Degree, Summa Cum Laude
  • Andersonville Theological Seminary, Bachelor of Education, Summa Cum Laude
  • State of Tennessee Instructor Development School, Graduate
  • State of Tennessee Boater Safety Education Instructor
  • State of Tennessee Certified Handgun Instructor
  • Lifelong Resident of Tennessee and of Bradley County


  • Tennessee Sheriff’s Association
  • Fraternal Order of Police
  • National Rifle Association
  • Southern Gospel Music Association
  • Kiwanis
  • Cleveland Bradley Chamber of Commerce
  • Sons of the American Revolution
  • Community Corrections Board
  • Project Coordinator for Coats for the Cold
  • Woodman of the World
  • First Baptist church
  • University of Tennessee Law Enforcement Innovation Center Advisory Board

 Professional Experience

  • Member of the 104th to 108th General Assemblies
  • Chair, House Criminal Justice Committee for the House of Representatives
  • Chair, House Judiciary Committee for the House of Representatives
  • Co-Chair, NCSL Law and Criminal Justice Commitee
  • Member, House State Government Committee
  • Member, House Calender and Rules Committee
  • Member, House Transportation Committee
  • Tennessee Criminal Justice Coordinating Council
  • University of Tennessee Law Enforcement Innovation Center- Facilitator
  • Bradley County Sheriff’s Office – Captain
  • Benton Police Department – Detective
  • Marion County Sheriff’s Office – Deputy
  • Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency – Officer
  • State of Tennessee Private Investigator


  • 2013 Housing Hero Award – Home Builders Assoc. of Tennessee
  • 2012 Veterans of Foreign Wars Loyalty Day Award
  • 2012 Best Political Leader Award – Chosen by the readers of the Cleveland Daily Banner
  • 2012 Tennessee Bureau Investigation Award
  • 2011 “Legislator of the Year” by the Tennessee District Attorneys Generals Conference
  • 2010 Outstanding Representative Award – County Officials Association of Tennessee
  • 2010 Bradley County Sheriffs Office – Promoted to Captain
  • 2010 Fraternal Order of Police Outstanding Service Award
  • 2008 “Legislator of the Year” by the Tennessee Realtors Association
  • 2008 Tennessee at-Large Delegate for 2008 Republican National Convention
  • 2006 Bradley County Sheriffs Office – Promoted to Lieutenant
  • 2005 United States Marshals Service – For dedication and service during “Operation Falcon”
  • 2004 Bradley County Sheriffs Office – Career Deputy One Stripes
  • 2003 Bradley County Public Service Award – “Coats for the Cold”
  • 2001 Bradley County Sheriff’s Office Life Saving Award
  • 1998 Tennessee Governors Award of Excellence
  • 1998 – 2005 Eric Watson and Tennessee Harmony charted six top 80 songs across America in the Christian music charts







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