MIDLAND, Texas — After serving as Midland County Sheriff for 34 years, Gary Painter passed away Saturday night.
Painter's influence is obvious in the breadth of reactions pouring in from around West Texas, Lubbock, and New Mexico.
Kent R. Hance, Chancellor Emeritus of the Texas Tech University system and friend of the Sheriff remembered him on Twitter, saying "He was a giant in law enforcement & a very good man. My thoughts & prayers are with his family & the Midland County Sheriff’s Office."
Other law enforcement agencies across the Permian Basin are taking the time to honor a man that so many looked up to.
The Odessa Police Department shared a message from Chief Gerke. "Sheriff Painter was the Dean of West Texas law enforcement and a true legend across the state of Texas. He will be sorely missed by all that knew him."
Sheriff Mike Griffis of Ector County spoke about his late colleague with a statement in part reading "He was very respected and had some very good and useful advice for myself and others. He leaves quite a legacy. A legacy that many of us could only dream of. God Speed Sheriff Painter, Rest In Peace, I thank you for your service, advice, and friendship."
The Big Spring Police Department also offered their condolences, saying "Sheriff Painter will absolutely be missed by all as we have lost a true leader and professional." The Howard County Sheriff's Office echoed this sentiment on Facebook, stating that "Sheriff Painter not only served the residence in Midland County, he was a mentor to many in law enforcement across the state. He was always there to help anyone at anytime."
The Andrews Police Department joined by stating "Sheriff Gary Painter was a great leader, great man, and lawman. He will be missed by many."
Other law enforcement agencies to pay respects through social media include the Glasscock and Brewster County Sheriff's Offices as well as New Mexico's Hobbs and Eunice Police Departments.