DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas County is starting the new year with a new leader in the sheriff’s office. At the stroke of midnight, Marian Brown was sworn in as the interim sheriff during a ceremony at the Frank Crowley Courts Building. Brown was selected to serve after Lupe Valdez announced that she was stepping down to run for Texas Governor.

During the early Monday ceremony, Judge Clay Jenkins thanked Valdez for her 13 years of service in Dallas County.

Immediately after taking her oath, Brown spoke about recommitting to the department’s duties in over coming year. “I think it’s important for us to start the new year together as a unit,” she said. “Tonight is a historical night for various reasons. I want it to be a historical night because it is the night that we recommit to why we organically became police officers.”

Brown stressed the values of integrity, professionalism and accountability.

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

It was back on December 19 that Brown was unanimously voted to be the interim sheriff, after a closed door executive session with Dallas County commissioners. But the move has come with controversy, as Brown is one of three Democratic candidates in the running for the job during the March primary election.

There are two Republicans in the running as well. The general election will be held in November.

Some of Brown’s opponents have explained that she now gains an unfair advantage by temporarily holding the position. Missy Shorey of the Dallas County Republican Party said that Democrats are playing politics by cherry-picking their own candidates instead of allowing the will of the people to be heard.

Roy Williams Jr. is one of the three Democratic candidates, and he said earlier in December that the process for selecting an interim sheriff was fair, even if it did not turn out in his favor. “I would have appreciated the same opportunity,” Williams said last month, “but it didn’t work out that way.”

Brown also shared her own thoughts on the matter after she was chosen last month. “A person could say, yes, that provides an unfair advantage, and indeed it does provide an advantage. Unfair? Don’t know,” she stated. “I think you have to get out there and sell yourself.”