Pontotoc County Sheriff Gene Christian said the history of the sheriff goes back over 1,000 years to England.
“They had what were called ‘reeves’, which were representatives of the king, in each shire. We call (shires) counties here,” Christian said. “As the English language progressed, they changed it to ‘shire reeve.’ Of course, in America, we call them sheriffs.”
He said the sheriff is the only law enforcement official designated under the constitution and is, therefore, the only law enforcement office directly answerable to the citizens it represents.
In addition to state and federal law enforcement in the county, Christian said the sheriff has several duties.
“We’re responsible for courthouse security,” he said. He said his office also operates the detention facility, investigates, patrols 897 miles of county roadway, serves papers for civil lawsuits and holds property sales for foreclosed property.
Although the sheriff’s office doesn’t enforce municipal ordinances, Christian said the sheriff’s office has jurisdiction on all county property except on Indian Trust land. In Pontotoc County, however, the sheriff’s office is able to enforce law on that land.
“We’re cross-commissioned with the Chickasaw Lighthorse police, so we actually do have authority on trust land.”
He said he tries to leave law enforcement within Pontotoc County’s municipalities to those municipalities’ police departments.
“Of course, if you see something happen in front of you, you have a duty to respond to that,” Christian said.
He said the new jail is running great and recently began housing City of Ada inmates.
Christian said he began working as a reserve deputy for Pontotoc County Sheriff Don Kaiser in 1985 while he was working in the oil field. When oil field work slowed down in 1986, he got a job working at the jail.
“I worked there until a position came open as a field deputy and I took that in 1987,” he said. In 1995, Christian became undersheriff under Jeff Glaze until 2005, when he went to work drug court.
In 2009, Christian became Pontotoc County’s sheriff. He said he enjoys it and would like to retire from the position.
“I enjoy what I do,” he said. “I keep continually trying to make improvements and make the operation of the sheriff’s office more efficient.”
Pontotoc County Sheriff
Office: Located at 100 W. 13th Street