McKeithen retires early, Gov. Scott to appoint new Sheriff

By Tiffany Jackson | tjackson@wmbb.com

Published 07/26 2016 11:33PM

Updated 07/26 2016 11:33PM

Back in April, Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen announced that he was ready for retirement once his current term ended. 
 
"I have no clue what I'm going to do. I do know that I want to be able to get up in the morning and just go somewhere and leave my phone laying by the bed," said Sheriff Frank McKeithen in April.
 
Apparently McKeithen will be able to do that sooner than expected.
 
About a week ago he sent a letter to Governor Rick Scott saying he will retire effective August 1st.
 
"Nothing's wrong with the Sheriff, you know, no illness or anything like that. He's just been doing this for 43 years and is ready to retire," said Major Tommy Ford, Bay County Sheriff-Elect.
 
Ford, McKeithen's second in command, was the only person to qualify for the sheriff's position after McKeithen announced he would not run again. That likely swayed McKeithen's decision to retire early.
 
"By virtue of us being unopposed in the election we would naturally assume the seat in January, so the Governor has the ability to appoint someone to fill the remainder of the term. I have applied for that vacancy, or I'm in the process of that," said Ford.
 
Although McKeithen will no longer be sheriff next week, there is no indication when the governor will announce his replacement. 
 
"There's still some details to be worked out, but in our policy in the absence of the Sheriff, as the Chief Deputy I would assume command of the Sheriff's office. So we won't miss a beat, we will continue to do the thing that we have been doing to keep the citizens of Bay County safe and we'll certainly miss the Sheriff, but he's assured me he's only a phone call away," said Ford.
 
News 13 will continue to follow this story and let you know as soon as Governor Scott names sheriff McKeithen's replacement.

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