Preparations are being made to elect a new sheriff in Jasper County.
Earlier this month, Sheriff Keith Murphy abruptly resigned after just six months in office. County officials say his resignation was due to personal reasons.
The interim sheriff is 66-year-old John Keenan.
"I was kind of caught off guard. It kind of caught me off guard," Keenan said.
Keenan is a retired captain from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. He says he has no plans of seeking the office on a permanent basis.
"I told the board of supervisors that I'd serve the four months and that's it. I'm fixing to be 67-years-old and I've had 35 to 36 years in law enforcement and I'm drawing retirement," Keenan said. "I'm going to go back and draw that after this is over with."
Between now and the upcoming special election for the position, Sheriff Keenan says not many changes will be made.
"We're going to continue basically on the policies that were in place," said Keenan. "I have no intentions of changing anything for four months."
So far, election officials say more than a half dozen people have taken steps to qualify for the election.
'The phones have been ringing off the hook,' says Jasper County Circuit Clerk Billy Rayner.
As of Friday, Rayner says three candidates had qualified and five additional packets had been requested. One of the individuals who has picked up needed papers to qualify is former sheriff, Kenneth Cross. He was defeated for the position last November.
For people seeking the office of sheriff in Jasper County there's something to keep in mind. A new law took effect July 1, which spells out more requirements for anyone seeking the office of sheriff anywhere in Mississippi.
"Before taking the oath of office the winner must have served four years as a sheriff or have five years of full-time law enforcement experience," said Rayner. "If he doesn't have any of that, he must attend the Mississippi Law Enforcement Academy or Jackson Police Academy before taking the oath of office."
All candidates vying for the seat must run as an independent candidate. The special election for the sheriff's position in Jasper County will be held