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Waters takes over Sheriff’s Office

By: Greg Bird

As of 12:01 a.m. Monday morning McCreary County had a new Sheriff.

Randy Waters, who won the office in the November General Election over Gus Skinner, officially took over that morning and hit the ground running.

Sheriff Waters said the first few days were used to get the office in operating order and to meet with staff to outline duties and obligations.

He met with former Sheriff Gus Skinner on Sunday and Monday to inventory the office and evidence locker to ensure a smooth transition between the offices.

Additionally he met with all staff to issue equipment and organize the schedule.

“It was a long day,” Sheriff Waters said about his first day in office.

Deputies were out patrolling the roads Monday evening and serving paperwork for the Court as Waters’ team began. His office also started collecting taxes and conducting vehicle inspections immediately, so citizens saw no disruption in those services.

One of the promises Sheriff Waters made during his campaign was to utilize special deputies more than his predecessor, something he has already accomplished.

Odell Smith, Milford Creekmore, Charles Perry, Tommy Lewis and Freddie Patrick will serve as special deputies, adding manpower to the department.

Sheriff Waters stated the addition of the special deputies has allowed him to implement a schedule that provides coverage by a deputy 24 hours a day for each day of the week.

The Sheriff stated there remains a possibility of adding more deputies in the future, but he will have to wait until later in the year to see how funding develops.

One of the main obstacles Waters faces to start his term is funding. Under state law, Sheriff’s Offices must start the calendar year with a zero balance on the budget. Any income coming to the office is from fees and other services.

Sheriff Waters said he has already applied for an advancement from the state, but that funding will be delayed until Sheriff Skinner’s tax settlement is finalized.

Some personnel changes were made to accommodate the funding situation. Detective David Sampson was moved into the position formerly held by Deputy Joe Horne, who was not retained by Sheriff Waters. Sampson joins Tom Smith and Jerry Meadows as paid Deputies.

Sampson’s position is one of three paid for through Fiscal Court funds, and his previous position, funded through funds generated through the Sheriff’s Office will be left vacant until that funding is available again during the next property tax collection cycle.

All tax fees collected from last year’s property taxes legally go to Sheriff Skinner, which will be turned over to the county after his fees are deducted. Later this year, when the new tax bills are issued, will fall under Sheriff Waters’ term and the fees generated from those bills will go to his office.

Sheriff Waters retained most of the deputies and court security officers from the previous administration, noting their experience will be an asset as he begins his term.

He also stated his main goal was to personally answer as many calls as possible.

The Sheriff said he plans to work closely with the Kentucky State Police in an effort to streamline coverage in the county. He noted that his office will conduct routine investigations, but any larger cases, such as felonies, will be turned over to the state police for investigation. His officers will be available to assist with the cases.

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