Chennault announces bid to remain sheriff


Cherokee County Sheriff Jason Chennault is announcing his candidacy in the 2020 election for the office he currently holds.

Chennault, 45, has been an employee of the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office for 21 years. He began his career at CCSO in January 1999, as a reserve deputy for former Sheriff Delena Goss and Undersheriff Dan Garber. Chennault's first paid position with CCSO began in February 1999, as a part-time night dispatcher and jailer and part-time "trash cop." The trash cop program is a state-funded grant that supplied money to Oklahoma's rural law enforcement agencies for the investigation of illegal dumping.

Chennault was promoted to full-time patrol deputy in summer 1999, and promoted again to investigator in September 2003. In January 2005, Norman Fisher took office as Cherokee County sheriff and named Chennault his chief investigator and public information officer. On Nov. 1, 2006, Fisher named Chennault, then 31, undersheriff, making him one of the youngest in that position in the state. Chennault served as Fisher's undersheriff for 13 years, making him the longest-serving undersheriff in the history of CCSO. Chennault was appointed sheriff by the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners on Oct. 10, 2019, and took office on Nov. 1, 2019, upon Fisher's retirement on Oct. 31, 2019.

Chennault has twice been named the Cherokee County Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, and was recently recognized by District Attorney Jack Thorp for work in the investigation into the Dec. 23, 2007, murders of Jack and Elaine Denney. Chennault is a former task force officer of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Eastern District of Oklahoma Violent Crime Task Force.

Chennault, a Democrat, is the northeast region board member of the Oklahoma Sheriff's Association; a member of the board of directors of the Cherokee County 911 Trust Authority; a board member of the Cherokee County Governmental Building Authority, which oversees the Cherokee County Detention Center; and a past president and former board member of Court Appointed Special Advocates of Cherokee Country.

Chennault is a 1994 graduate of Markoma Bible Academy, and a 2000 graduate of the Oklahoma State Council on Education and Training's Full Time Peace Officer Academy. He holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Northeastern State University; is a 2003 graduate of CLEET's Criminal Investigation Academy; and is a 2005 graduate of San Jose State University's Homicide Investigations Academy. He is a 2007 graduate of the Oklahoma Sheriffs' Academy, and a 2013 graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Crisis Negotiation Academy.

Chennault has over 1,000 hours of CLEET continuing education training.

Chennault and his wife, Sherry, live in the Briggs area with their 10-year-old son, Taylon. An older son, Jaydin, is a student at NSU and lives in Tahlequah. Chennault is the son of Bill and Pat Snyder, of the Briggs area, and Terry Chennault of Tahlequah. Chennault is the brother of Robbie Snyder of Tahlequah; Nick Snyder; and Melissa Snyder and Jaryn Linney all of the Briggs area.

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