In the race for Cleveland County Sheriff, four Republicans and one independent are competing for a position with no incumbent.
Republican candidates Rick Adkins, Chris Amason, Tim Deal and Micheal Freeman will participate in the upcoming primary on June 30. Kelly Owings, the only Independent, will await the GOP nominee in the general election on Nov. 3.
Blake Green, the current Cleveland County Sheriff, is not seeking election. The former Cleveland County undersheriff was sworn in as sheriff on April 4 after Todd Gibson left to become police chief in Moore. Gibson had been sheriff since 2017.
The following candidate profiles have been compiled from publicly available information.
Cleveland County at a glance
Current officeholder: Blake Green (interim)
2019 crime: 5 homicides; 157 rapes; 312 felony assaults; 954 breaking and entering. (Souce: OSBI)
Median income: $62,863 median household income and $30,507 per capita income in 2018. (Source: census.gov)
Demographics: 78 percent white, 5.5 percent African American, 5.3 percent Native American and 9.2 percent Hispanic or Latino.
Municipalities covered: Norman, Moore, Noble, Lexington
Rick Adkins (R)
Experience: Rick Adkins, who has been in law enforcement for 22 years, serves as a lieutenant for the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office. Adkins grew up in Lexington and began his career in the McClain County Sheriff’s Office, where he worked in the detention and communications divisions. While there, Adkins rose to the rank of lieutenant and ran the detention center in the absence of the jail administrator.
Adkins has also worked for the Rush Springs Police Department, the Comanche Police Department and the Marlow Police Department. He spent 15 years at the Purcell Police Department before coming back to the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office in 2018.
“My very first day in law enforcement, I knew that I wanted to become sheriff one day,” Rick Adkins said in a campaign announcement published by the Norman Transcript.
Platform: Adkins says on his campaign website that he plans on increasing manpower in the patrol division by using current resources in order to decrease response times. Adkins also says he will have the CCSO be the “best-trained agency in the state.”
“I will work with citizens and commissioners on designing and building a training center,” he writes on his website. “The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office will be a place that others will want to come for their training.”
Chris Amason (R)
Experience: Chris Amason is a veteran Norman Police captain and is currently the commander of the criminal investigations division, a position that puts him in charge of roughly 50 personnel and a $3 million annual budget.
Amason has won the Governor’s 20 tab several times while a member of the NPD pistol team, an award that recognizes the top 20 law enforcement shooters in the state, his campaign website says. He also received the police commendation bar with risk for disarming a suicidal father.
Platform: Amason says in a campaign ad that he can bring forward-thinking leadership to the office. The ad says he believes in truthfulness, transparency and “doing the right thing.”
“CCSO already has a great team of emerging leaders and innovative thinkers,” Amason says in his ad. “It’s important that we build on that current success and leave a lasting legacy.”
Tim Deal (R)
Experience: Tim Deal was accepted into the Oklahoma Highway Patrol in the Capitol division, where he received two OHP command commendations. As chief of police in the town of Amber, he started a “media and relationship campaign that was about public safety and the people of the community after abolishing the apparent ticket revenue policies.”
Platform: Deal’s campaign website says his mission will be to “serve everyone equally and to develop relationships and trust with the public.”
“My experience in law enforcement and private sector business has provided me with the tools to lead and manage the deputies and employees within the department,” Deal says on his website. “We will uphold the laws of Cleveland County and the State of Oklahoma.”
Micheal Freeman (R)
Expericene: Michael Freeman has been a state law enforcement officer for more than 21 years, according to campaign site.
Freeman has accumulated more than 1,300 hours of law enforcement training, holds an advanced law enforcement certification from the Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training. He is also a certified computer examiner and a member of the International Association of Forensic Computer Examiners.
Platform: On the topic of working to stop crime in rural communities, Freeman says in a Facebook video that “criminals do not respect boundaries.”
“If we can send those criminals to prison or force them to live elsewhere, all of Cleveland County is going to be safer,” Freeman says.
Freeman say when property crime goes up, property insurance rates in Cleveland County are going to be affected.
“If someone has a DUI related crash in the rural parts of the county, that eventually affects your car insurance rates even if you live in Oklahoma City,” he says.
Freeman said he didn’t want to promise that crime rate will go down with him as sheriff and noted that there maybe an increase in financial and property crime over the next couple of years.
“I don’t know all the internal factors that may cause an increase in crime,” Freeman said.
Kelly Owings (I)
Experience: Kelly Owings has a Facebook page but does not appear to have a campaign website. According to The Oklahoman, Owings became a reserve Cleveland County deputy in 2001 and a reserve Lexington officer in 2004. Owings served as a full-time Lexington police officer for five months before working casino security for the Chickasaw Nation. He ran unsuccessfully for sheriff in 2008. As of now, his employment status is unclear.
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