Two elected officials in Oklahoma County began serving their fifth full terms in office Wednesday and a third official started his first day on the job.
Sheriff John Whetsel, Clerk Carolynn Caudill and Court Clerk Tim Rhodes were sworn in as family, friends and co-workers watched in the crowded courtroom of District Judge Donald Deason.
Brian Maughan, the incumbent District 2 commissioner who won re-election in a July primary, took the oath of office Wednesday at the state Capitol. He is beginning his second term in office.
Whetsel soundly defeated Republican challenger Darrell Sorrels in November. He thanked the citizens of Oklahoma County for electing him to a fifth four-year term and said serving as sheriff is “the highest honor I could ever attain.”
The Choctaw resident said the county's crime rate is down 86 percent and the crash rate is down 92 percent since he was elected sheriff in 1996.
Caudill, who ran unopposed in her bid for re-election, said serving as county clerk “has been one of the greatest experiences of my life.”
She was elected Sept. 17, 1996; a week later she was appointed by Gov. Frank Keating to complete the vacated term of her predecessor.
Rhodes, a longtime deputy court clerk, won a runoff election in August to succeed Patricia Presley, who retired after 16 years as court clerk.
“It takes so many people … to help you along the way,” Rhodes said.