Undersheriff Jason Chennault has been in law enforcement for 21 years, and most of that time has been spent in the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office.
Now, he'll be taking on a new role, replacing long-time Sheriff Norman Fisher, whose retirement after 15 years in office will be effective Oct. 31.
Chennault was confirmed by the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners, on Fisher's recommendation. Since Fisher is stepping down before the election season begins, he tapped Chennault to finish out his term.
"I believe Jason will carry on, and he will keep it good for the employees. I believe he will continue running the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office in much the same way that I have run it for 15 years," said Fisher.
Shortly after Chennault was given the nod by the commissioners Thursday morning, he said he was excited to begin his new job. He took time to reflect on how he got started on his career path.
"I started out as a reserve police officer at Wagoner. I had a seasonal job at the time and was talked into doing it," Chennault said.
He originally had his sights set on becoming a firefighter.
"I had no intention of becoming a police officer at all. On my 18th birthday, I rode a shift with one of my cousins in Fort Worth, and it was exciting, but it just wasn't something I was interested in," he said. "Then I spent several shifts with my cousin, a fireman in Tulsa, and I loved it."
After high school, Chennault applied at different fire departments and tested for several. He was told that when a spot came open, he'd get a call. However, when positions didn't become available, he went into business in Branson, Missouri.
"We ran some little amusement parks; that was my seasonal job, and I had all winter to do nothing," he said. "My buddies talked me into becoming a reserve police officer, and I did that and I enjoyed it."
In 1998, he enrolled in the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training officer certification academy at Northeastern State University. The class was sponsored by CCSO, and shortly thereafter, Chennault was hired by then-Sheriff Delena Goss.
"I was part-time trash cop and part-time dispatcher," he said. "I was the last trash cop that the county had. That was my first paid position."
Goss then put him on patrol, and he served in that capacity for about four years until he was promoted to the rank of investigator. When Fisher was elected sheriff in 2005, he named Chennault chief investigator.
After Undersheriff Danny Lewis resigned from his post, Fisher promoted Chennault to second in command, and that's where he has been for the past 13 years.
The most rewarding aspect of his job has been getting to help others.
"You can't always help people the way they want to be helped, but that's the best part of the job. You get to help people and you know you've done a good job for someone, and they thank you for it," said Chennault.
As far as his promotion, he said he knows how he wants to do things, and with everything Fisher has instilled in him, he plans to stay on that path.
"My foundation is always going to be what he's taught me and they way he did things. He's taken 15 years to get me ready for this day," Chennault said.
The new sheriff will officially be sworn in by District Court Assistant Judge Josh King on Nov. 1 at 8:30 a.m. Once that's done, Chennault will hit the ground running, like he always has.