New Sheriff Takes the Reins in Winkler County

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

WINKLER COUNTY--A week after losing their long-time sheriff, the new long arm of the law has taken over.  He's no stranger to law enforcement or to Winkler County.

Sheriff George Keely brings with him decades of experience and already has some ideas of where he wants to take his new department.

"The commissioners court appointed Chief Deputy George Keely, as Sheriff of Winkler County," County Judge Bonnie Leck told NewsWest 9.

A Texas native with over 30 years in law enforcement, Chief Deputy George Keely got a unanimous thumbs up from county commissioners. He's taking up the reins where the former sheriff left off.

"That's what we've been elected to do or hired to do. Therefore, it's our job and we continue and move forward.  I expect things will just continue on and I foresee no problems," Judge Leck, said.

With a family history of law enforcement, Keely was a police officer in Los Angles and also spent some time in Pampa, Texas, before making Winkler County his home, 18 years ago.

Sheriff Keely says he's been thinking about this particular office for a while now. His plans were in a holding pattern, pending the retirement of former Sheriff Robert Roberts. Now, fate has slipped the gear into fast forward.

According to Keely, "I'm excited about being sheriff. I would have liked it to have been under different circumstances. However, it is what it is and I'm going to make the best of it and I'm going to move forward."

Keely said it himself, everyone has different management styles. His is more hands on. While he doesn't plan on making any major changes, he said there are a few things he does want to tweak a little bit.

"When I say tweak it, I would like to get a grant, down the road, to get a deputy in the schools. The youth are our future," Keely added.

Also on the wish list, a new K-9 unit and getting his deputies more involved in the community. Keely says, the way he sees it, law enforcement is a business and his deputies are salesmen, "They're selling the hardest product in the world to sell, law and order. We're going to move forward doing just that. We're going to re-establish ourselves with a new sheriff and new management team."

With dreams of someday being in this position all his life, Sheriff Keely says, it's time to put the past behind and move on toward the future and county commissioners agree.

"It was something I've been looking at for 60 plus years," Keely said.

According to Judge Leck, "We have a lot of positive things going on in the county and expect great things for the rest of the year."

"Nothing stands still. You're either moving forward or you're falling behind. We've always moved forward and we're going to continue to do that," Keely concluded.