By Dylan Goforth
Phoenix Staff Writer
McIntosh County’s incumbent sheriff and his independent challenger say the public’s help will be vital to keeping crime low during the next four years.
Kevin Ledbetter, who won a special election in 2010, said increasing public trust and confidence in the sheriff’s office has led to more successful investigations and arrests.
Ledbetter said the office has maintained a high profile in the community by participating in community events and programs.
“We want the public to know who they are working with,” Ledbetter said.
Ledbetter grabbed 55.55 percent of the vote in June’s primary elections, topping challenger Jeff Coleman (44.45 percent.)
Cliff Sinyard, Ledbetter’s challenger, said he wanted to introduce a “community policing” style which he said will lower crime quickly.
“I would work with schools, churches and civic organizations and get them involved,” Sinyard said. “If you work within the community and get people involved where they’re watching out for each other, it will make a big difference.”
Sinyard, who said he spent 21 years as a Muskogee police officer, said community policing helped reduce crime by 33 percent during a three-year period.
Ledbetter said his top priority for the next four years will be to increase deputies on the street.
“This year’s budget is the first since I have taken office where we have had the funds to hire additional field deputies,” Ledbetter said. “My immediate priority if re-elected will be to get back into our normal work routine here and continue to build on the progress of the last two years.”
Sinyard said if he won, the first thing he would do would be to review the office, to see how its existing personnel and programs fit with his vision.
“I can tell you I won’t do a knee-jerk thing, like come in and wipe out the whole department,” Sinyard said. “I’ll go in and find out how we can all work together.”
Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or dgoforth
Meet Cliff Sinyard
FAMILY: Wife, Brenda. Three sisters, one brother.
OCCUPATION: Retired. I work at a rehab facility in Muskogee.
EDUCATION: Graduated from Muskogee High School and the University of Tulsa.
RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: Assembly of God.
HOBBIES: I spend most of my time at the rehab facility called Ray’s House, in Muskogee. I just got out of the cattle business.
Meet Kevin Ledbetter
OFFICE SOUGHT: McIntosh County sheriff.
OCCUPATION: McIntosh County sheriff.
EDUCATION: 1987 Checotah High School, associate’s degree from Connors State College, master’s degree from Northeastern State University.
RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: Christian.
HOBBIES: Hunting, fishing.