Clark County Sheriff Deb Burchett is sworn in by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. ANDY GRIMM | PHOTO

A ceremony rife with pomp and circumstance was punctuated with humor and heart-felt appreciation when Clark County’s Sheriff-Elect, Deb Burchett, took the oath of office from Ohio State Attorney General, Mike DeWine, on Dec. 28 in the Champion Center at the Clark County Fairgrounds.

“There’s that one line in every Western movie that people love to hear. It usually comes at the end of the movie...it’s when the hero or heroine pulls back their jacket, displays the shiny new badge, and says that famous line, ‘There’s a new Sheriff in town!’” said keynote speaker, State Representative Kyle Koehler to the thunderous applause of 200 enthusiastic audience members.

When Sheriff-Elect Burchett begins her term, she will be Clark County’s first female to hold the office of Sheriff, and only the third female to ever hold the office in the state of Ohio.

Koehler, a staunch supporter of Burchett during her campaign to unseated long-time incumbent, Gene Kelly, went on to say Burchett has shown her willingness to reach out to the people she serves, “She understands being Sheriff is not about the uniform, but about the heart that lies beneath the uniform’s badge.”

After taking the oath of office, Burchett swore in her brand-new administrative team. Each team member received new collar brass denoting their new, higher rank.

Travis Russell will now serve as the county’s Chief Deputy; Major Gary Cox will oversee the jail and office operations; Major Chris Clark will be in charge of patrol, communications, and the court; and Major Andy Reynolds will oversee the Detective bureau and Narcotics bureau.

When things did not go quite as planned during the brief ceremony, Burchett showed she is able to adapt to circumstances and handle problems with grace and humor. When her new administrative team momentarily fumbled the words to their oath of office, she chuckled a moment before shaking her head and turning to the amused audience, “And this is my new team!” she said before re-starting their swearing-in process.

All of the current Sheriff’s Deputies were also sworn in under Burchett’s oath. Burchett spoke to them about her vision for unity within the ranks and her desire to serve alongside them. She promised to be fair with her deputies and not show the favoritism many have complained about during the current administration.

Burchett spoke of her wish to work closely with the Springfield police department, and promised that the Sheriff’s Office. will vigorously fight Clark County’s rampant heroin epidemic.

Community members, Sheriff’s Office employees, and elected officials alike express excitement about Burchett’s term as Sheriff.

“It was time we had a change... Deb will be a Sheriff for the people. She actually cares about the community,” says Clark County resident, Peggy Smith.

Amy Collins has worked for the Clark County Sheriff’s Office for 17 years. She comments she is ready for the change-over, “Deb is fair, positive, and will get the job done no matter what it takes...”

Former New Carlisle City Council member and new Clark County Commissioner, Lowell McGlothin, says he is “very excited” about Burchett taking over as Clark County’s Sheriff, “Deb has earned it. She has worked her tail off and (will be) a Sheriff for the people. We haven’t had that in a long time. It’s going to be a good and much-needed change for Clark County...I’m looking forward to it.”

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