Lincoln County Sheriff Hoping to Stay in Office
By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The newly elected Lincoln County Sheriff, W.P. Coffey, said he's staying in office for now.
Despite being on the job for nine months now, Sheriff Coffey has yet to be certified by the Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training, or CLEET. The certification is required by state law.
Sheriff Coffey told NEWS 9 on Monday that he first tried to complete the course at the OSU-OKC campus, but failed to do so and received an "incomplete" on his transcript.
On September 14, he tried to complete the course by attending the CLEET course based in Ada, Oklahoma, but was told by instructors to leave because of his health issues.
"I completed a mile and a half run, sit-ups and push-ups, but the next day I was told I had physical limitations and I shouldn't be there,"said Sheriff Coffey who admits he's on medication for high blood pressure and arthritis.
"I understand it, but I don't like it," said the sheriff.
The Lincoln County District Attorney could file a petition with the courts if the sheriff can't obtain his certification in a timely manner, but as of Monday no such action as been taken.
"I just talked with the D.A. this morning about another issue, and he didn't mention anything about this," said Sheriff Coffey.
Calls to Lincoln County District Attorney Richard Smothermon were not returned Monday.
"I love this job. I feel like I can make a difference and it's why I'm here," said Sheriff Coffey who says he's now working once again with the staff at OSU-OKC to complete the final course he needs to obtain certification.
According to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office web site, Sheriff Coffey has 18 experience in law enforcement as a jailer, dispatcher, and a field officer.
Sheriff Coffey has also served as a police officer for Meeker Police Department and Davenport Police Department and a reserve officer for the Chandler Police Department.
Sheriff Coffey was employed with the Chandler Public Schools as a teacher for 23 years before becoming the Lincoln County Sheriff. He has a degree in Behavioral Sciences from Seminole State College, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education and a Masters Degree from the University of Central Oklahoma.