Monday, January 03, 2005

Coconino's sheriff quits after 32 years

It's a sad day, but a credit to a man who can stand in the light of public scrutiny for that long and then walk away on his own terms.
Coconino's sheriff quits after 32 years: FLAGSTAFF - As Coconino County Sheriff Joe Richards slides on his 10-gallon hat and drives down old Route 66, the memories roll off his tongue rapid-fire. Here, at the corner of Flagstaff Mall, is where he used to stake out the numerous robbers fleeing Winslow. There, on the summit of Sheeps Hill, was the most-emotional day of his life when the body of a 9-year-old girl was found, murdered by a sexual predator. At the base of a hill in the distance, he lost one of his favorite reserve deputies in a hail of gunfire to a convict who handcuffed another deputy to a tree. Richards, 68, is hanging up his badge today after 32 years, the longest-serving sheriff in Arizona history, according to the Arizona County Attorneys and Sheriffs Association.Officials at the National Sheriffs Association in Alexandria, Va., said the organization does not keep records on duration and it is not known where Richards' tenure ranks nationally.

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