Eric Cope Jim Linduff
Two Sequoyah County residents have announced their candidacies for the June election for sheriff.
Eric M. Cope and Jim Linduff are vying to replace incumbent Sheriff Larry Lane, who is running for re-election.
Cope is a lifelong resident of Sequoyah County. He grew up in Gore and lived there until October 2019, when he and his family moved to a home north of Vian.
A law enforcement officer with 14 years of experience, Cope says that as sheriff, he would have more of a presence in the county. “I believe the position of sheriff is solely for serving people,” he said in an interview. “The best way to do that is to be out there and be involved with the people of the county.”
Cope says his work as an officer with the Gore and Vian police departments and two stints in the sheriff’s office have given him long-term relationships with other law enforcement officers in the area that will enhance his role as the county’s top lawman. He said that doing “preventive maintenance” against crime is much better than doing “damage control” once a crime has been committed.
In a statement announcing his candidacy, Cope said, “Our home needs a sheriff who is hardworking, dedicated to ALL crime prevention and will always stay loyal to the residents of Sequoyah County. The safety and security of our residents will ALWAYS be my top priority.”
Jim Linduff says he also wants to see a greater law enforcement presence in the county. He lives between Gore and Vian and said he rarely, if ever, sees deputies patrolling the area and he would like that to change.
Linduff, a U.S. Navy veteran and longtime law enforcement officer, has received 38 police commendations in his career. He was awarded a Governor’s Award and the Police Meritorious Service Award for his work as one of the first responders to the 1995 bombing of the Edward R. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.
When asked what changes he would make at the Sheriff’s Department, Linduff said, “I would like to see more deputies in the public and I would like to see the department run more efficiently.”
In a statement announcing his candidacy, Linduff said he also wanted to streamline the department. “There is no need for a sheriff’s department our size to have four drug dogs.”
With shootings at schools and churches on the rise, Linduff also pointed out that he is a certified instructor for active-shooter incidents and said he looks forward to sharing his knowledge and training with area schools, churches and businesses.
Linduff said he also wants to add a search-and-rescue team to the department and expand the police reserve force, along with bringing in new technology for his officers. “We can’t keep doing mid-century solutions to law enforcement problems any more. We can save money with technology,” he said.
Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer
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