Taking the oath

Published 11:32 pm Thursday, January 15, 2015


Dennis Meeks took some friendly “Hop-along” name-calling after he propped one of his crutches against the judge’s bench, leaned on the other one, placed his hand on the Bible, and took the oath of office for a third term as Covington County’s sheriff Thursday.

Meeks, who suffered two fractured ankle bones when he attempted to make an arrest at Walmart Sunday and ended up in a scuffle, is the first sheriff in 52 years to serve a third consecutive term.

Asked what he hoped to accomplish in a third term, he quipped, “Stay healthy,” then took a more serious note.

“We’re just going to keep doing what we do,” he said. “I’ve got a great staff, and some of the best officers in the state of Alabama.

“I don’t expect much to change, except when the laws change and we have to enforce them,” he said.

Meeks said he tries always to keep the county in a good light.

“It’s an honor to be sheriff,” Meeks told the crowd of family members, friends and co-workers that even included a former resident of the county jail. That former resident sought him out after the ceremony.

“I apologize for my behavior,” the woman told the sheriff. “I was sick. I know that now. I did three-and-a-half years, and I learned what was wrong with me, and that I could change.”

The woman then thanked Meeks for his role in her arrest, and treatment while incarcerated.

“You don’t get that much,” he said with a smile as she walked away.

Presiding Circuit Judge Ashley McKathan administered the oath of office, as prescribed by Alabama’s Constitution of 1901.

“Some people think of this as a useless ceremony,” KcKathan said, “For a man whose word means something, it is not. You are swearing to uphold the office. I believe Sheriff Meeks’ word means something.”