Claude, TX - Armstrong County Sheriff James Walker is retiring at the end of the year after serving more than 15 years as the county law enforcement leader.
Some might have thought someone in his department would fill his shoes, but that wasn't the case. Longtime Claude resident Nathan McKee was unanimously picked by the commissioners court to be the new Armstrong County Sheriff.
"I want to provide the best service for the people of Armstrong County," said McKee.
While some are looking forward to the fresh blood in the county, McKee was picked over another candidate who's been a deputy with the county for years. A decision that's raised some eyebrows and concerns because McKee does not have a law enforcement background and is not TCOLE certified.
"Texas constitution and Texas laws state that any citizen, of course within reason, any citizen can be a county judge or county sheriff," said Armstrong County Judge Hugh Reed. "As long as you meet the residency requirement, are 18 and have a high school diploma."
According to Reed, once McKee takes role as sheriff, he has two years to become TCOLE certified. McKee says he isn't letting a few concerns discourage his abilities to be sheriff.
"A lot of it is dealing with people. I don't have to have any kind of law enforcement training to deal with people," said McKee. "People have concerns, they're more than happy to talk to me about it. It's an open door on that, I want to know what people's concerns are."
McKee is currently a correctional officer for the TDCJ in Pampa and spent almost six years in the Army, Skills he will use to become the next law enforcement leader.
"In both you have to know what levels to go from without getting to aggressive depending on the situation."
McKee will be sworn in on January 1st. One of the things he would like to focus on as Sheriff is patrol the county more frequently.