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By CHARLES RICHARDS
For the first time in 20 years, B.J. McCoy is not the sheriff of Lamar County.
McCoy’s longtime chief deputy Scott Cass took the oath of office at 12:01 a.m. today, taking the reins of office with scores of supporters and sheriff’s department employees looking on.
After serving five straight four-year terms, becoming the longest-serving sheriff in the history of Lamar County, McCoy chose not to seek re-election in 2012, instead encouraging Cass to run for the top job.
McCoy, 58, stood at the fringe of the throng that witnessed the changing of the guard in today’s early morning hours. He shook hands and exchanged hugs with a steady stream of friends, including many who had worked with him over the years.
“Have you started to miss it yet, not being sheriff?” someone asked county clerk Kathy Marlowe administered the oath of office to Cass.
“A little,” McCoy said.
“I’m not going to miss the stress. What I’m going to miss are the citizens and the people that worked with me,” added McCoy, who was 38 when he first became sheriff.
McCoy is not retiring.
“Meet my new partner,” McCoy said, turning to longtime friend Del Drake, a retired agent with the Alcohol and Beverage Control and son of a careeer FBI agent.
“He and I are opening up a private investigators’ office,” McCoy said.
Drake, who is the husband of Paris city councilwoman Cleonne Drake, who is also from a law enforcement family and herself a former police officer in Paris. He has been working as a process server out of attorney George Preston’s office at 116 Clarksville, which will also serve as the base for the private investigators’ operation.