After months of controversy and disputes with other agencies, the Nowata County Commission says it does have confidence in the leadership of Sheriff Kenny Freeman.
Sheriff Freeman says he’s proud of the county commissioners’ choice to allow him to continue working.
“We’re getting better every day,” he said. “The training is coming along every day. I’m not just relying on myself, I’m pulling in experienced people.”
Since Freeman took over, the claims against him and his department have continued – from accusations that the Sheriff’s Office was poorly supervised, to claims that there is a lack of training.
Strong criticism even came from former sheriff Jim Hallett calling Freeman negligent. Hallett said that, while he disagrees with the county commissioners, he respects their decision.
“The ones that are going against me are a small group of people. It’s not a very large group,” said Freeman.
Freeman acknowledges that there are issues, but attributes some of them to previous administrations. One of the biggest concerns was an instance where a dispatcher fell asleep on the job. The sheriff says he placed that dispatcher on probation and wrote her up.
“I took action. She was not fired but, for me, it was only one indiscretion that I knew about,” he said. “The second I found out about it, I corrected the actions.”
Freeman says he has made noticeable changes, from ordering new ballistic vests to correcting missing paperwork and cleaning up the jail.
“I went from a 12-hour shift down to an 8-hour shift, which…increased jail school trainings, added in new patrol trucks,” he stated.
He says he wants to take the department into the 21st century and he continues to deny any allegations.
“I’m proud of what I do,” declared Freeman. “I’m proud of the job I do. I hope that people out there can be just as proud of me.”