August 6, 2003 - Posted at 6:50pm CDT
POCAHONTAS, Ark. -- Andy Griffith is the sheriff without a gun and Randolph county has its own "Andy" but his name is Earley, Brent Earley.
In the past week, Sheriff Brent Earley's name has made the headlines of Region 8. He, along with his deputies and state police investigators, arrested three people in connection with a five-year-old murder case involving a family from Dalton.
Sheriff Earley turned 28 last month and is the youngest sheriff in Arkansas and may be the youngest sheriff in the nation. Earley was elected sheriff at 26 and took office when he was 27.
"My ambition comes from good upbringing and a man named Andy," Earley said. "I loved the Andy Griffith Show. Andy brought respect to the office and that's what I hope to do while I'm sheriff in Randolph county."
Earley's office is full of Andy Griffith memorabilia, in fact it's almost a mini museum dedicated to Andy, Barney and the whole Mayberry gang.
But unlike Andy, Sheriff Earley is definitely packing, and unlike Barney, he's definitely carrying more than one bullet.
"I am more than ready to handle any situation put before me," proclaims Earley.
He is quick to say any sheriff is only as good as his "Barneys" or deputies, adding, "We've got a great team here. We are more like family than anything else and we work well together."