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Newly elected sheriff to bring change

(Source: KSWO) (Source: KSWO)
(Source: KSWO) (Source: KSWO)

Waurika, OK (KSWO) -With the start of the new year comes the start of a new job for newly elected officials.

Jeremie Wilson was sworn in as Jefferson County's sheriff today in front of his family, friends, and community members who came out.

"There was kind of a something in the air, a little bit of excitement,” Wilson remembered. “I see it in the eyes of the deputies. There's a chance for change and I'm going to make it a good change."

Sheriff Wilson said the first thing he wants to get done is make sure the department is structured properly, whether it's making sure they're doing everything within the law or making sure everyone within the department is caught up in their training.

A new sheriff isn't the only change they've seen today. They've also seen a growth of numbers.

Sheriff Wilson said before he took over, there were only 4 reserve deputies serving on the department. They now have around 16. He said a lot of them worked there in the past or in the surrounding areas.

Wilson's goal is to have 20 reserve deputies.

He said having this many reserves cuts down the response time in emergency situations.

"Now I can rely on and say hey guys this is an emergency,” Wilson said. “I know you're down working at the grocery store but this is bad, I need you to go there, they need an officer there now and that deputy could be there in a matter of five minutes."

Sheriff Wilson said, in years past, the police and other departments didn't have the best relationship with the sheriff's department, and he plans on changing that.

"We are all one team, one fight,” Wilson said. “Whether that be fire department, whether that be police department, EMS, this can be our city council members if you are a servant to the community. You are a part of our team and there is no more of this 'well you’re sheriff's department, I'm police department.' It's one team, one fight. We're going to take care of our whole county together."

And according to Wilson, the biggest challenge the department faces will be a financial one.

"I'd like to say it's going to be the drugs that we attempt to get off the street, we're going to challenge that; we're going to go after it. We're going to reduce the thefts. We're going to try to take care of our citizens but the hardest part of this is going to be the money factor," Wilson said.

One way Sheriff Wilson plans to keep the department under budget is not naming a jail administrator or dispatch supervisor, and reducing the number of full-time deputies from three to two deputies.

Starting Wednesday the department will now provide law enforcement presence at schools county-wide. They're doing this not only for security but to also let children know that officers are there to help. 

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