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Staff Writer [email protected]

Currently serving as interim sheriff for the Washington County Sheriff’s Department (WCSO), Keith Sexton describes himself as a hard- core conservative Republican, who believes in God, the 2nd amendment, freedom of speech and family.

“I have spent my life as a public servant, choosing a career as a law enforcement officer serving Washington County and Johnson City over 30 years now. I started my law enforcement career in January of 1991, working with Washington County Sheriff’s Office for 17 years, where I was promoted through the ranks to the rank of Lieutenant/Watch Commander,” Sexton said. “I am also an FBI certified bomb technician, the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team commander, and the SWAT Team commander. I have also been a canine officer for the sheriff’s department and done parts of administration.”

To Sexton, when it comes to any of these positions, leadership is the most import- ant part of any job. “I’ve been there and done that. To be a leader, you have to be able to make decisions under pressure in the real world. I feel I am
a respected leader for both agencies,” he said.

Sexton explains his platform consists of three things:

1.To provide the citizens of Washington County with a Sheriff and a Sheriff’s Office engaged in an active partner- ship with the community to fight crime, especially drug-re- lated crimes, by being immediately responsive to community needs and addressing neighborhood conditions that create an environment that cultivates crime.

2. To restore openness and trust in the Washington County Sheriff’s Office administration by applying firm, fair and consistent management practices regarding departmental regulations and enforcement of the law.

3. To increase inter-agency communication and professionalism through providing advanced training and career path opportunities to curb employee turnover, provide employees with a clear path for professional development and to prepare them for advancement.

As a leader, Sexton has clear goals he plans to implement if elected to the position, such as more officers in the community on patrol and a renewed emphasis on drugs and crime.

“The drug problem is nationwide, but it’s here in Washington County too,” he said. “We need to renew an emphasis on the drug problem as well as crimes, such as burglary. I inherited a lot of serious problems as interim sheriff, one being we have 10 officers on patrol right now if we are lucky. We need more to combat the drugs and crime.”

Becoming sheriff isn’t something Sexton takes lightly, nor something that he just decided to take on without thinking.

“This has been a 20-plus year goal,” he said. “I told my- self that in 2022 I was going to run for sheriff. I have 30 years’ experience with proof to show. I am a swiss army knife of law enforcement in this community. I have been offered jobs many other places, but I stayed here because I want to be here and do what needs to be done. I want to lead from the front.”

Sexton added that he has a great deal of real law enforcement leadership experience in both agencies. “I am firm, fair and consistent as a leader. You can never be wrong doing the right thing,” he said. “I do what I say and have the work record to show it. I want to be a sheriff that talks to
the community and connects neighbors.”

Sexton said he is dedicated to his profession, but God is always first, then family, then community. And he wants to set that example for the region.

“Throughout my career, no matter my rank or position, I have always believed in treating people the way I want to be treated, respectful, polite and professional. I will be available, approachable, and ready to work hand in hand with the citizens of Washing- ton county,” he said. “I humbly ask for your support, your vote and I pledge to uphold the responsibilities of the office of Sheriff with the utmost re- spect, integrity, and honor due to the citizens of Washington County.”