Oklahoma sheriff says qualifications matter for job, not gender

Margarett Parman is the new sheriff, but she's not new to the Blaine County Sheriff's Department. Parman's office is in Watonga, the county seat, about 80 miles northwest of Oklahoma City.
by Bryan Painter Modified: January 13, 2013 at 6:53 pm •  Published: January 14, 2013

“She's a good investigator, and the good thing is people will tell her anything. It works out well.”

Parman's office is in Watonga, the county seat, about 80 miles northwest of Oklahoma City. Watonga had a population of about 5,100 in 2010, and Blaine County 11,943.

Through the years, the county's sources of income have included farming and ranching; oil and gas, and gypsum, among other businesses.

In the 2010 census, the county population was down because some jobs were lost in areas, including at a private prison to the north of Watonga.

But the people of the area move forward. Parman has seen that since she moved to the county in the nation's bicentennial year, living first in Greenfield before moving to Watonga.

She has worshipped next to them at the First Baptist Church in Watonga. She's been involved in the annual Watonga Cheese Festival in October. As a cancer survivor, she's also been involved with the Relay for Life. She's sat with county residents at games when her late son, Jack, played football, basketball and baseball at Greenfield High School before it closed.

Jack also was involved in FFA at Greenfield before graduating in the early 1980s. And she went with her daughter, Kristi, to 4H and FFA activities until Kristi graduated from Watonga in the late 1980s.

On the west wall in Parman's office is a long “Land Ownership Blaine County Oklahoma” map. But she could probably recite the names of most without ever reading it.

Parman was asked if knowing so many people makes her role as sheriff easier or tougher. Her reply was quick: “Both.”

“Number one, you do what you have to do, but you can still have empathy with the people and their families,” Parman said.

She's seen some of her children's former schoolmates booked into the county jail. Some of them had been at her house when they were children.

“You always want to think the best, and you just don't think that when they get older they're going to be coming here, but it happens,” she said. “What they don't realize is that what they do doesn't just affect them; it hurts so many others.”

So Parman said that while she can have empathy, “you still have to do your job.”

by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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