Nowata County's New Sheriff Wants To Turn The Department Around
NOWATA COUNTY, Oklahoma - There’s a new sheriff in Nowata county who’s hoping to clean up a department marred by controversy. In Tuesday election, Terry Sue Barnett won more than 80% of the vote over outgoing Sheriff Kenny Freeman who was recently charged with embezzlement.
Sheriff Barnett brings years of law enforcement experience to Nowata county and she says she wants to get to work improving not just the department but the community as well.
"I'm excited and ready to go to work," said Sheriff Terry Barnett. "It's a little overwhelming for me but I with the confidence of the citizens of Nowata County I think I'll be fine."
Barnett comes into office as the department works to overcome several issues over the last few months. The OSBI arrested outgoing Sheriff Kenny Freeman last month for embezzlement. Barnett says she wants to rebuild and start fresh.
"To bring law enforcement for all the citizens here I eventually hopefully will be able to implement a 24-hour coverage and I want to have a good relationship between the citizens of Nowata County and the Sheriff's Office,” said Barnett.
Barnett arrives with experience from the Tulsa police department and working security details in Oklahoma and abroad. She wants to bring new focus to the budget and form in a citizen’s advisory board. Former Tulsa Police Detective Bob Little worked with Barnett and says she will be a great asset.
"She will think through an issue, think through a problem before she makes a decision and she will make up her own mind about aspects," said Little.
And while Barnett says changes will take time, she and others around her are confident she will be able to build up the public’s trust one day at a time.
"I think she's gonna bring great changes, and restore respect back to our law enforcement here," said Former Nowata Sheriff Jim Hallett.