Candidates square off to be Jefferson County Sheriff

Candidates square off to be Jefferson County Sheriff

WAURIKA, OK (KSWO) - The second day of early voting is wrapping up now and in Comanche County, it looked very similar to Thursday, with long lines at the courthouse, and waits of as much as two hours to cast a ballot ahead of election day.

As of 6 p.m., nearly 1,200 people had voted with hundreds more still lined up out the door. That is an increase from Thursday when more than 1,300 people voted in Comanche County alone. If you didn't make it out for early voting, it is still available Saturday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.

As far as the turnout goes for other counties in our area, in Jefferson County, they've had more than 300 people vote in the last two days, which is huge for them. One of the big races there is for sheriff, with the incumbent Michael Bryant running against Jeremie Wilson.

Bryant has been the sheriff for the last 13 years. He is originally from Houston but moved here after a death in the family. He says his family has lived in Jefferson County for 5 generations.

"Several citizens came to me and asked me to be their sheriff 13 years ago," Bryant said. "I've won three elections since. I want to keep doing it because they've asked me to keep doing it. I plan on staying here and providing good law enforcement to the community. Rural areas need good law enforcement and getting officers to come here for the low pay that we can offer is very hard to do."

Wilson actually worked as a deputy under Bryant for a year and is now a part-time Waurika police officer. He was in the Army for 20 years before settling down to work in both Cotton and Jefferson county.

"We've got a crime problem, we've got a drug problem, it's not being addressed, it's not being taken care of properly," Wilson said. "I know I can do that, I know I can change the way it is now. What I'm asking is the people of this county to give me the opportunity to show them what they're missing."

If elected, Bryant says he will focus on will be a new method to locate rural homes,

"A grant to purchase E911 signs for the rural addresses, to be able to put those addresses out there for them to know where those residences are so we can find them in an emergency quicker, whether is law enforcement, firefighters, EMS," Bryant said.

Wilson says he would like to see more reserve deputies spread around the county.

"Reserve programs are best formed when it's your community and it's people in your community, not someone from another county," Wilson said. "That's fine but if I can get some of the local farmers, some of the local ranchers, the local businessmen and women who are willing to serve their community. If I can them through the reserve CLEET course and get them qualified where they can be out and about. Right there is a great asset that we're not tapping into right now."

At the end of the day, both Bryant and Wilson ask you to check the box next to their name when you hit the polls on election day.

"People should vote for me because I've proven that I can give them quality law enforcement and manage a department where an entire county is sinking daily from the lack of funds. I would appreciate their support, I've proven to them over the years, I've dedicated myself to being in law enforcement here and I plan on being here until they don't want me here," Bryant said.

"Give me a chance to show you what you deserve as a citizen of Jefferson county, you're not getting it now. Let me be a servant, let me show you what you can have as a sheriff's department. Give me the opportunity, check Wilson for sheriff, give me four years and I'll prove to you that 100-percent, it can be better," Wilson said.

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