Former Nowata Co. Sheriff: Too Many Problems Under Current Sheriff

Monday, July 30th 2018, 11:36 pm
By: Amy Avery

A former Nowata County sheriff says he’s seen too many problems in the six months since Sheriff Kenny Freeman took over.

Former Sheriff James Hallett told the county commissioners Monday that he wants something done about it.  He asked them to remove Freeman from office.

However, Freeman says six months is not a lot of time to make changes and he hopes the county will give him a chance.

Hallett served Nowata County for 18 years and says a lot of people are fed up with the current Sheriff.

“He’s had six months at it and everything’s went downhill,” said Hallett.

He says he’s most concerned about possible liability claims against the county.

“They are poorly supervised and they are poorly trained,” he said.

Sheriff Freeman says he has had a lot of personnel changes, including new people who needed training.

“I had a lot of problems when I first came in,” said Freeman.  “I think I’ve corrected and addressed those problems.”

One of the biggest concerns was an instance where a dispatcher recently fell asleep on the job.

7/24/2018 Related Story:  Emergency Dispatcher Accused Of Sleeping On The Job In Nowata County

“I have taken actions on the person that fell asleep,” stated Freeman.  “I’m moving her shift.”

Nowata Police Chief Mike Mcelhaney took pictures of the dispatcher sleeping.  He says he took pictures in case a missed call cost someone their life.  He, along with Hallett, say they hope something can be done.

“We’re scared,” said Hallett.  “I know if something happens then we are in for a terribly high lawsuit.”

The county commissioners tabled the discussion regarding the removal of Sheriff Freeman until next Monday’s meeting.

Hallett says he has also offered to step in as interim Sheriff until the problem is solved.