PIKEVILLE, Ky. – After 16 years as the Chief Jailer for Pike County, Ky., Rodney Scott is now near the end of his first year as the county’s new sheriff.
Scott has made several changes since taking the oath of office and continues to look for grants to buy needed equipment.
“We recently purchased 13 bullet proof vests,” Scott said. “We have also applied for a Homeland Security grant of $25,000 for new duty weapons.”
“If the grant money is out there – we’re going to apply for it,” Scott added.
“Everything is going good so far. It’s been different,” Scott said from his Pike County Courthouse office. “It’s something new and we’ve accepted the challenge. We are trying to do our best.”
Scott has been working on painting all of the deputy cruisers so they will be consistent. “We have changed the cruisers and changed the uniforms of the road deputies,” Scott added.
But the sheriff is not only over the law enforcement division, but the county’s tax department as well. Scott took over for longtime Sheriff Charles “Fuzzy” Keesee, who had served in that capacity for more than 40 years.
“One of the big things is that you can go online and pay your property taxes by debit or credit card,” Scott said. “That is one of the things I was asked when I was out campaigning. This will make it more convenient.”
“Several people asked about going online to pay their taxes – so now they will be able to do that,” Scott said.
Scott said the biggest difference becoming sheriff after being the jailer for so many years is the tax office. “I have some really good help in that department,” he stressed.
Lynn Cross, a retired Kentucky State Trooper (KSP), is Scott’s Chief Field Deputy, who had 30 years of experience. Eddie Crum is his lead detective and he also had several years with the KSP.
“I’ve got some good help on the law enforcement side,” said Scott. “So I’ve been concentrating on the tax office as of late.”
Scott said he is trying to make it through this fiscal year and see what his budget looks like. Like most counties in the coal fields, tax revenue is way down.
“Of course we would like to hire and put more deputies on the road, but we’ll have to wait and see what our budget looks like,” said the sheriff.
“We couldn’t make it without the volunteers we have,” Scott said of the auxiliary deputies. Many of them have been with the department for several years.
“We have several volunteers that perform a lot of tasks. They can lead funerals or work ballgames. Those are tasks that really help us out. We couldn’t make it without them,” Scott added.
Scott only has nine certified road deputies and 12 volunteers on the force for Pike County.
Scott said one of his goals is to have a resource officer at each high school in the county. He believes that is a big need for Pike County.
“I think that would enhance the safety at the schools and also I feel the public would like this,” Scott stated.
“We are going to apply for a grant for this project too,” Scott said. The program would put an officer in each high school, but some of the resource officers might also make an occasional appearance at the middle schools in their districts. Scott thinks that this visibility would be good for the school system, faculties and for the students.
Scott also mentioned the bad publicity that many law enforcement agencies have recently received across the United States. He knows that sometimes there is a negative impression toward deputies and other police officers, but he wants to change that, especially in the schools with the younger generation.
“People need to realize that these officers are there to help them,” Scott concluded.
(Kyle Lovern is the Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)