Scott Cass: Lamar County sheriff's department "is sound ... it is changing ... it is stepping into a new era"
Scott Cass took the oath of office at 12:01 a.m. today from county clerk Kathy Marlowe at the Lamar County Jail, assuming the duties of Lamar County sheriff from B.J. McCoy, whom Cass served as chief deputy for 15 of McCoy’s 20 years in the job. (eParisExtra photo by Charles Richards)
After swearing in Cass, Marlowe swore in all the other employees of the sheriff’s deparment.
By CHARLES RICHARDS
Shortly after midnight last night, after 2012 turned into 2013, Scott Cass took the oath of office as Lamar County’s new sheriff, succeeding B.J. McCoy, who held the position for 20 years, longer than anyone in Lamar County history.
“Your sheriff’s office is sound. It is changing and stepping into a new era,” Cass said.
“I have a great staff of dedicated employees who are committed and excited to serve. My command staff that surrounds me is strong, experienced and dedicated to making this a great office,” said the 49-year-old Cass, who was just 29 when he joined McCoy’s staff in 1993, and 34 when he became chief deputy in 1998.
“I look forward to serving as sheriff for many years to come, and I am committed to it with honor, service and integrity,” Cass said in an interview with eParisExtra.com.
“I want to say good luck to Sheriff B.J. McCoy, with whom I have had the opportunity to work for these last 20 years. Leaving this office after being the longest-ever serving sheriff in Lamar County’s history is a great achievement. I wish him the very best in all his endeavors,” Cass said.
Cass is shuffling around the criminal investigation division and is pleased with what he sees. He has added expertise by bringing in Jeff Springer out of retirement to become his chief deputy. Springer is an expert in blood spatter and fingerprints, and also served for more than 10 years as supervisor of the Paris Police Department’s narcotics operation.
Returning to the Criminal Investigation Division is Kevin Jenkins, who interrupted 26 years of law enforcement experience to become a county commissioner in Lamar County for the past four years. Cass noted that his command staff has a combined 175 years of law enforcement experience. Also in the CID working felony crimes along with Jenkins will be Joe Tuttle and Joel Chipman. Chipman also will be working crimes against children and crimes against persons.
Anson Amis also is assigned to CID, working narcotics, and Cass said he will continue to try to get more manpower assigned to narcotics. But both Springer and Jimmy Don Clark have also had experience with the drug task force. Clark will be part of CID as well, assigned to misdemeanor crimes and crimes against property.
“So we’re excited. The employees are excited, and my staff is excited,” Cass said.
In a wide-ranging interview, Cass touched on a number of changes that are taking place:
- “Stacy Fults, our jail administrator, has retired, and I’ve just put two jail administrators in place. Richard McGlothlin is our new jail administrator, and Robert Waldrum is our assistant jail administrator. Both of them have worked in the jail, and they have years of experience back there.
- “We have restructured our patrol under the supervision of Travis Rhodes, and they are excited. The patrol officers are excited about new uniforms we’re going to be getting in the next couple of months, and our new patrol cars will also look different, with new striping. Rhodes has 17 years of law enforcement experience, all with the Lamar County sheriff’s department, and most recently in criminal investigation. But he started out in patrol, With his years of experience in crime scenes, criminal investigation, things of that nature, he adds a wealth of training opportunity for the patrol division.
- “It’s hard to keep up with everything that’s happening, it’s coming so fast. Like our computer-aided dispatching that’s coming at the end of January. Then we got a grant for computers and equipment in cars. This is a $115,000 grant, and all that is going to be tied in together. Our software systems are changing also. It will affect us not only here at the sheriff’s office, it will affect the county, the court system and everywhere. It’s going to be Internet based, and we’ll be able to take information and share it with our dispatchers and ship it out to officers out on the street.
- “We have a website for the county, and we’re soon going to have one for the sheriff’s department. We’ll be giving the folks the ability to get on the Internet and be able to see what’s happening. Good things are coming, and I’m excited about it.
- “I want to get back to chaplains for the sheriff’s department, which we haven’t had for the last 20 years or so. We have reached out to ministers, who have been of great assistance to us, but we’re in the process of looking at different models and policies to see what fits our department. We need chaplains in the jail setting, but our employees need it as well, as does the community. Like the other day, that tragedy that happened with those boys, where one was shot to death. A chaplain could come out and be at those crime scenes, just to offer support in any way. I was in church Sunday morning and our Sunday School class prayed for both of those boys, and I asked that they pray for the officers as well. It’s tough. You know, people thing we’re hard, that we’re just robotic. Well, you know, we have feelings, and it’s tough. We have to do our job, we have to be in control, and we have to be focused. But you know, afterwards and even while it’s happening, those type of stresses take their toll on you. So I’m looking forward to a chaplain’s program for the sheriff’s department.
- We have just been awarded a grant to fund our bullet-proof vests. We try to upgrade those every few years, and this year we will be able to outfit our patrol with new vests. Tthis grant is a good thing for cities and counties that don’t have the funding to buy these on their own. This is just a continuation of looking for grants to get more manpower and equipment.
- “We have a good relationship with the various law enforcement agencies in this county, working together, coming together to solve crimes and put people in jail. Not only do we have that relationship inside the county, we have them outside the county as well. We work with Choctaw County, Hopkinds, Red River, Delta, and Fannin counties, and we work with other police agencies as well. It’s just a good working relationship with various agencies, coming together to do a common goal, and that’s to solve crime and make sure the citizens are protected. I am looking forward to continuing good working relationships with all the law enforcement agencies in the county, working together to provide the verey best law enforcement we can for our citizens.”
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