Sheriff hopes to serve at least two more terms

Keri Thornton | Daily Press

Cherokee County Sheriff Jason Chennault signs documents after being sworn in by District Judge Doug Kirkley on Jan. 4.

Jason Chennault says he would like continue in his role for another 20 years, after celebrating 22 years at the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.

Chennault was sworn in as sheriff Jan. 4 after he won his race against Republican candidate Manuel Holland. While this is Chennault’s second swearing-in, this was his first election after he stepped in for former Sheriff Norman Fisher, who retired in 2019.

“We want to continue to provide law enforcement the people can be proud of, and we would like to add to our patrol division,” said Chennault.

Since Chennault has taken the CCSO reins, the agency has been able to make upgrades with its radio system, updated decals, and has added new vehicles.

“We’ve equipped everyone with new portable digital radios and all of our vehicles with digital radios. That will made everything clear and give us better reception,” said Chennault.

The sheriff also provided the county commissioners with donated handheld and mobile radios during a Jan. 4 meeting.

With funds from the Cherokee Nation and cooperation from the commissioners, seven new vehicles were purchased for the CCSO.

“We were able to give the investigators new vehicles and administrators new vehicles, which they hadn’t had in a long time,” said Chennault. “That hasn’t come out of our budget, and that’s money that’s been granted to us from the Cherokee Nation. We want to be able to continue to have a fleet deputies can rely on and get to their calls with.”

Chennault said he would like to purchase body cameras for CCSO deputies soon.

“That’s something I'd like to do down the road, but right now, we just don’t have the money for it,” he said. “That means to equip 30 deputies and to be able to purchase all of the storage equipment required."

Chennault credits his success to Fisher, and stays in contact with him for advice.

“I’ve got a great support system here, and I can always call Larry Lane in Sequoyah County, Tim Turner in Haskell County, Jason Ritchie in Adair County, and Scott Walton in Rogers County,” said Chennault. “Being on the board of the State’s Sheriffs Association really helps. There’s a lot of knowledge and experience I can take in.”

Chennault plans to run for sheriff again in 2024, and even in 2028.

“I would like to do 20 years. I’m 46 years old, and I think I’ve got a lot of time left in me. I think that’s an obtainable goal, and I feel like I owe that to the people of Cherokee County,” said Chennault.

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