The large courtroom of the Fentress County courthouse was packed this evening (Monday, July 17, 2017) as the county commission met for the sole purpose of voting for a permanent sheriff. Commissioners had to choose from five candidates that met state qualifications to be sheriff. The five included Interim Sheriff Gary Ledbetter, Michael Reagon, Rodney Insco, James Conatser and Tommy Lee Rosencrants.
Right after the meeting was called to order, Fentress County Executive J. Michael Cross told ones in attendance that he commends the sheriff’s office for their professionalism during a trying time. Cross was referring to former sheriff Chucky Cravens being arrested and entering a plea of guilty to charges. Those charges also led to Cravens resigning and Gary Ledbetter taking over as sheriff on an interim basis until a permanent sheriff could be selected.
Cross added that this was a situation that he, nor the county commission, every imagined would happen and the incident regarding Cravens actions shamed and humiliated the county. Cross then called for unity in the county, especially with the decision the county commission was about to make.
The county commission then voted unanimously to approve the way they would vote for the man who would soon be the new sheriff. A roll call of commissioners would be performed and each commissioner would verbally say the name of the candidate they would choose to be sheriff. The number of votes needed to get the job was six as there were ten commissioners, making it a majority vote. In the event that one man did not get six votes at the end of the roll call, the top two would stay in contention and the other three would be eliminated. Then a second vote would be taken.
The second vote would not be needed.
Before the votes were cast, each commissioner addressed the crowd and virtually all said the same things. Each one said their vote would be for who they and their constituents thought would do the best job. They said some would not like the final decision but the commission would get behind the one that would be sheriff.
Then it was time for what everyone came to the courthouse to witness.
As each commissioners name was called, they verbally recorded their choice. When all ten votes were in, only two men received votes. Michael Reagon got seven votes to Interim Sheriff Gary Ledbetter’s three votes.
After the decision was made final, the county commission voted unanimously to support Reagon as sheriff of the county.
Reagon will be officially sworn in as Fentress County’s new permanent sheriff tomorrow morning (Tuesday, July 18, 2017) at 9 a.m. at the courthouse in Jamestown. Reagon will serve as sheriff until August 2018 when the next general election for sheriff will be held.
Reagon brings 20 plus years experience to his role as sheriff. He was with the Jamestown Police Department for six years and served as chief deputy for the Fentress County Sheriff’s Department for four years.
Reagon told 105.7 News tonight that his top priority as sheriff is to continue working to chop away at the drug problem and make sure the kids in the county are safe. Reagon added that he will be a working sheriff being at the jail in the mornings and afternoons as well as being out with deputies patrolling in the evenings.
Interim Sheriff Gary Ledbetter told 105.7 News tonight that his future with the sheriff’s department is undecided. Ledbetter said the honor of serving as interim sheriff was a fantastic experience that he would do all over again. When asked if he would run for sheriff in the August 2018 election, Ledbetter simply said he was undecided at this time.