Ron Lockhart, 53, announced this week he will seek a third term as the county sheriff.
Lockhart said, “Over the last seven years I have been honored to have been given the opportunity to serve as your sheriff, and am hereby officially announcing my bid for re-election for 2016.
Lockhart said, “My experience consists of 29 years of continued law enforcement service which includes 22 years with the Fort Smith Police Department and seven years as your Sequoyah County Sheriff. I have also served 8 years on the city commission for Sallisaw and am the first Vice President for the Oklahoma Sheriff’s Association. I have attended training at the FBI Academy as well as the ATF Academy. I have over 2,600 hours of continued education in Law Enforcement and have been recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice, OSBI, FBI, and ATF.
"To be an effective Sheriff it’s very important to run the Sheriff Department as a business,” Lockhart said, “and to have trained deputies. We have accomplished this over the last seven years. As a lifelong resident of Sequoyah County, I am determined to make our county a safer place to live and raise our families. I will endeavor to continue to make a difference while in office and am respectfully asking for your support for my re-election in 2016 to help keep the Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Office a professional organization.”
Lockhart said anyone who would like to assist with the campaign or would like a campaign sign may contact him on Facebook at Re-Elect Ron Lockhart for Sequoyah County Sheriff 2016 or call 918-776-7209.
Lockhart listed advancements and achievements that have been made under his administration.
The Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Office resumed control of the jail in August of 2009 and immediately began implementing changes that reduced the costs of operations by about $250,000 a year, which has resulted in a total of $1.5 million dollars in savings thus far. These savings were achieved by
Reduction in staffing;
Reduction in food expenses; and
Reduction in medication expenses.
In addition to the reduction costs additional training for all jail staff was implemented to include ethics and professionalism, among other courses, to improve staff/inmate interactions. This has led to less inmate complaints, less inmate non-compliance, and has helped create a positive culture inside the facility overall.
Lockhart said, “Under my administration, the Sequoyah County Jail has maintained a reputable status with zero lawsuits.”
-Cooperation with Local Law Enforcement:
In 2013 the Sheriff’s Department in conjunction with every municipal police department in Sequoyah County entered into an Inter-local Cooperation Agreement. This agreement was approved by all police chiefs and city councils. This enables all law enforcement in Sequoyah County to share equipment and to work together to make Sequoyah County a safer place.
Patrol vehicles are one of the biggest expenditures for the sheriff’s department due to cost of maintaining dependable and safe units for deputies. Facts regarding the patrol vehicles:
The deputies patrol a combined average of 55,000 miles per month;
The patrol vehicles are serviced every 4,000 miles;
Depending on the costs of repair, a vehicle is kept in patrol until it reaches over 200K mile.
Some units last up to 250,000 miles; and the cost of a vehicle averages $25,000 to $30,000 each.
Lockhart said, “All of the vehicles purchased during my time as sheriff have been purchased with grants or from the sheriff’s department cash account. No tax money has been spent on purchasing vehicles.”
-Sheriff Works with Rural Fire Departments:
In 2011 Lockhart saw a need to implement a swift water and dive team. In conjunction with rural fire departments in Sequoyah County this was accomplished. Lockhart was able to secure funding to purchase swift water rescue equipment along with dive equipment for the rural fire departments. The sheriff was also able to purchase two boats and military Humvees to make the team a success. To date the fire departments' swift water rescue teams have saved several lives and have been recognized with the Life-Saving award.
-Aggressive Narcotic Investigations
The Sheriff’s Department has become more aggressive in its mission to apprehend those who possess, and/or distribute drugs in the county. Improvements in narcotic investigations include the use of undercover officers. This has resulted in hundreds of arrests and additional seizures. The sheriff’s department in conjunction with the district attorney’s office has also added two full-time K-9 Narcotics units. The K-9 was purchased with assistance from the Sequoyah County District Attorney’s Office.
-Extended Training for Investigators:
Sequoyah County Deputies promoted to investigators have received additional training and have become more aggressive with investigations. The investigators are trained to conduct the investigation from start to finish without being so dependent on the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI), which has led to a quicker crime solve rate. To date, there have been 16 homicides since Lockhart was elected. He said “I’m proud to say that all 16 were solved quickly, along with a 1996 homicide that was reopened and cleared in 2014. I attribute this to the training investigators have received and the dedicated hard-work of everyone at the Sheriff’s Department. In addition, the Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Department has received several awards from the OSBI in recognition for our work done in investigations.”
-Night Shift Deputies:
Lockhart implemented a night shift at the jail during his first year in office. This has led to improved response times, and a reduction in crime. Currently, there are two deputies who work the night shift. This has been a successful way to promote officer safety and reducing crime.
-Building Check System:
To reduce vandalism and theft for businesses and churches located in Sequoyah County, a building check system was implemented to ensure the premises are secure. Building check cards are left on the door to inform business owners the date and time the business were checked. Lockhart said, “I am proud that this program has been well received, and as long as I’m your sheriff it will continue to operate.”
-D.A.R.E./School Resource Program:
The Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Department, in conjunction with five county schools (Central, Brushy, Gans, Liberty, and Moffett), established a Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program (DARE) in which a school resource officer educates students to “Say No to Drugs!” Two full-time deputies travel to the area schools every day to present drug education programs to the students and work with school administrators to help children at risk. The officer’s salaries are paid by the schools. The equipment and supplies for the programs were provided by grant funds. The program originated in August of 2009 with one officer. The program was so well received by the community and school districts that the program was expanded in 2010 to employ two officers.
The Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Department has acquired numerous training aides for use in D.U.I. education. All of these educational items were purchased with grant funds or through private donations to the DARE program. Some of these items include drunken goggles, a golf cart, and obstacle course items. The obstacle course is set up (usually at schools), and students are fitted with drunken goggles and asked to drive the obstacle course. This is a great hands-on learning tool that allows students to safely experience how driving becomes impaired under the influence of alcohol.
-Community Service Program for Inmates:
A work program has been established for inmates that enables them to work off fines by performing manual labor by cleaning up cemeteries, picking up roadside trash, painting churches, and general clean-up for non-profit organizations. This has been a great success to cemetery boards throughout Sequoyah County. Inmates have picked up tons of trash along roadways in the last six years. The inmate work crew is also used to perform labor at the courthouse such as maintaining courthouse grounds by cleaning, and landscaping.
In the last 7 years the jail, dispatch center, evidence room, and sheriff’s department have received technological and structural upgrades from previous antiquated technologies and hardware.
The Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Office has been recognized and received awards. They include recognition on several occasions by the OSBI for work done on several homicides and a Partnership Award received from the State Capitol.
Sheriff Lockhart was awarded Sheriff of the Year in 2013 by his peers across the State of Oklahoma
Lockhart concluded “I respectfully ask for your continued support in 2016.”
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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