Longtime Newton County Sheriff retiring

NEWTON COUNTY, Miss. (WTOK) - After 23 years in office, Newton County Sheriff Jackie Knight tells Newscenter 11 he will not seek re-election, calling it one of the hardest decisions he's ever made. He says he thanks God and the citizens for all they've done.

Former Sheriff's Deputy Randy Patrick is one of four candidates who have qualified for elections, so far.

"What I think it takes to make a good sheriff- has to have compassion, not only compassion, but to treat everybody with dignity and respect,” says Patrick.

Patrick says the passing of his father is one of the reasons he's running. The other reason, the people.

"So the service and protection for our citizens, that's another driving force. To make sure they're safe and they're protected and get the quality service they need,” says Patrick.

Patrick says he's excited to begin campaigning.

"I think that it is good to have competition, which will be great. I definitely want to run a good, clean and positive campaign. And to my opponents, hey let’s do this. Let's make a good fun clean race and have fun while we're doing it,” says Patrick.

The other three qualified candidates are Decatur Police Chief Joedy Pennington, Sammy Stevens and Union Police Chief Billy Pat Walker.

Newscenter 11 looks forward to speaking with the other candidates in the future.