MUSKOGEE COUNTY, Oklahoma - Muskogee County commissioners now only have days to decide who will be their interim sheriff, and they say this puts them in a tough position.

“This puts the commissioners in a difficult place,” said Muskogee County Commissioner Ken Doke.

On Monday, commissioners named four qualified candidates to take on the role as interim sheriff. Commissioners said the decision they have to make Friday is not easy.

Doke said the decision comes after former sheriff, Rob Frazier, stepped down to take the position as Fort Gibson’s police chief. Doke said state law requires them to find a replacement.

“Basically, once we found out there was going to be a vacancy, Muskogee County started taking applications and resumes. We did that for a period of time. After that we reviewed the applications we had and narrowed it down to about four different applicants,” Doke said.

Those applicants are as follows: 

  • Charles Pearson - a former Muskogee county sheriff.
  • Lieutenant Andy Simmons with the Muskogee Police Department.
  • Jessie Everett - an Oklahoma Highway Patrolman for 30 years.
  • Terry Freeman - the current undersheriff and former OHP trooper.

Each have to be older than 25, have prior law enforcement experience, and live within the county.

“It’s a big job but in addition to that, they are also running the county jail, so it’s a big stressful job,” Doke said. 

Doke said they don’t want their decision to sway the public or endorse a candidate in the upcoming election.

“The commissioners don’t want to have to appoint a sheriff. That is what an election year is for. We want people to choose who they want and elect their elected officials,” Doke said. 

However, Doke said he wants Muskogee County residents to know commissioners are approaching their choice of interim sheriff with the perspective of who can take on the job quickly and effectively.

“We are going to do our best to pick the best person who can finish up that term, and we are going to do our best to not influence the election. At the end of the day, the commissioners don’t want to have any influence on that,” Doke said.  

Commissioners will make the announcement on the next interim sheriff at 8 a.m. Friday, January 31.