With sheriff’s job behind him, B.J. McCoy says he now will become a private eye

McCoy (right) was with longtime friend Del Drake, a retired agent with the Alcohol and Beverage Commission. They plan to open a private investigators' operation in Paris. *eParisExtra phogo by Charles Richards)

Longtime sheriff B.J. McCoy (right) is shown with Del Drake, a retired agent with the Alcohol and Beverage Commission. Now that his 20-year run as county sheriff has ended, McCoy says he and Drake plan to open a private investigators’ office in Paris. (eParisExtra photo by Charles Richards)

By CHARLES RICHARDS

eParisExtra.com

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.

 

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Charles Richards Charles Richards moved to Paris in 2004 after retiring from a 40-year career in journalism – the last 26 years as a news writer and sports writer with The Associated Press in Dallas and Washington, D.C. In mid-2004, The Paris News coaxed him out of retirement, and he began covering the police, court and regional beat for The Paris News. Then in early 2005, he was switched to coverage of a sharply divided Paris City Council. He was appointed by the City Council in 2006 to the 12-member City Charter Review Commission, which extensively rewrote the outmoded document. His writing awards include two first-place awards in statewide competition for feature writing. The most recent was his 2005 story on a Paris doctor’s startling use of leeches in a successful attempt to re-attach a man’s severed ear. Over his career, Richards’ interview subjects include Alabama Gov. George Wallace, President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush, David Koresh, Arnold Palmer, Muhammad Ali and numerous other political and sports figures. He is an alumnus of Texas Tech, where he was editor of the school newspaper. He lives in Paris with his wife, Barbara, who is retired after 30 years as a teacher and high school counselor.