Jimmy Lee said in 24 years of doing investigative work for insurance companies, he’s brought in more criminals than any officer in the area.
“Shoot, I’ve picked up more criminals than any police in the country,” Lee said. “I’ve got experience dealing with people from all walks.”
Lee faces off Tuesday against four other Democrats: Sheriff Charles Pearson, Lonnie Bemo, Eddie Walker and Emman Lorin Drywater. After a probable runoff election Aug. 28, the winner will go up against the Republican candidate, Roger Lee on Nov. 6 in the general election.
Jimmy Lee said he’s been blessed professionally to have a successful career. Helping people, he said, is what he does for fun. So he decided a run for Muskogee County sheriff was the next logical step.
“I just like to help people,” Lee said. “I like to give back. Nothing makes you feel better than helping someone who’s been wronged.”
Lee said one of the first orders of business, if he’s elected sheriff, is a “clean sweep” of the Muskogee County/City Detention Facility.
“It’s a mess over there, it really is,” Lee said. “It needs to be cleaned out, and a whole new capable crew needs to be running it.
“It’s a state-of-the-art jail, there’s no reason for it to be as bad as it is.”
Lee said the jail employs jailers “with no clue what they’re doing.” Even ensuring the jailers go to CLEET (Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training,) isn’t enough.
“CLEET isn’t going to teach you how to work in a jail,” Lee said. “There are so many things that happen in a jail that you will never learn from CLEET. So we end up with jailers not knowing what they’re doing, and that’s how people get hurt. That will change when I’m sheriff.”
Another thing Lee said he wants to see — and something he said will be “strictly enforced” if he becomes sheriff — is deputies treating the community with respect.
“My deputies will conduct themselves like I do, or they’ll be gone,” Lee said. “I never got a lawsuit against me or any company I worked for.
“It will be a skeleton crew for a bit when I’m elected while I’m getting the right people in place, but it will be for the best.”
Lee said he wants to quickly implement a system where each community in Muskogee County has a deputy who lives inside it.
“It will be these communities’ responsibility to nominate guys they want to be deputies,” Lee said. “The communities will feel like they have someone on their side.”
If elected, Lee would not be able to carry a firearm because of a felony conviction from the 1970s. CLEET Director Steven Emmons said county sheriffs don’t have to be CLEET certified to be eligible to run for sheriff, but do have to be eligible to be CLEET certified.
“Heck, I can be CLEET certified,” Lee said. “I just can’t carry a gun. But crap, what do I want a gun for? I chased criminals for 24 years as an investigator and I didn’t ever have a gun.”
Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet Jimmy Lee
OFFICE SOUGHT: Muskogee County Sheriff.
FAMILY: Wife, Nancy, seven children.
OCCUPATION: Runs Jim’s Pilot Car Service.
EDUCATION: Okay High School.
RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: Pentecostal.
HOBBIES: Coon hunting, riding motorcycles.
Muskogee County Sheriff candidates
• Lonnie Bemo, D-Muskogee;
• Eddie Walker, D-Muskogee;
• Charles Pearson, D-Muskogee;
• Jimmy Lee, D-Muskogee;
• Roger Lee, R-Muskogee;
• Emman Lorin Drywater, D-Muskogee.
• Today — Early voting, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• Saturday — Early voting, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Monday — Early voting, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• June 26 — Primary election.
• Aug. 28 — Runoff primary election.
• Nov. 6 — General election.