The new sheriff Johnson County voters chose in November’s election is acclimating to his new office and its myriad of challenges with a tried-and-true approach: Optimism, dedication and cooperation.
Doug Saylor said he’s a Paintsville native and lived in Johnson County his whole life, and held a job since high school before starting his own towing and repair shop business in the early 1990s, but he first got into law enforcement in 2000 as an auxiliary deputy.
“I remember a conversation I had with the sheriff at that time,” Saylor said. “I told him, ‘I’ve got kids growing up here, and you’re doing your part to help the community, and I want to do my part to help if I can.’”
Saylor lost his first election, a bid for Johnson County jailer in 2006, but tried again in 2010 and won — and ran successfully for reelection in 2014 before winning the election for sheriff last year.
His administration there, Saylor said, will come down to teambuilding from both above and below. From the top down, Saylor said, working closely with Kentucky State Police, as well as neighboring counties and the Paintsville city police will be paramount to keeping the peace in Johnson County effectively.
And within the office, Saylor said most of the deputies and staff have stayed on from the administration of Sheriff Dwayne Price, but some have left, and he is working to fill the positions with trained officers who have the right attitude.
“The main objective is to employ a group of deputies and workers here with a professional, but yet community friendly attitude. We’ll treat all people equally, with respect, while doing the job in a professional, efficient manner.”
Even shorthanded for now, Saylor said at least one deputy has been on patrol 24/7 since his taking office, a vigilance necessary for getting a foothold in the fight against drugs and the property crimes, traffic crimes and violent crimes pursuant to the drug problem.
“The deputies… this is their community, too. They’re concerned about the drug problem, they’re concerned about the crime,” Saylor said. “And they’re going above and beyond, making every effort to help the people that live here combat this.”
One key to making that happen is money. Working within the constraints of a limited budget, Saylor said the office will pursue new and existing avenues for grant funds in an effort to help put more reliable cruisers back on the road and outfit his deputies with the equipment they need.
While doing what can be done to keep costs down, Saylor said he looks forward to working with the fiscal court — and the community.
Saylor said he has been inspired by the confidence members of the community have expressed to him, and grateful for the tips they have already been providing. That communication with the public, Saylor said, is going to be key in the years to come.
“I’m an ‘our’ person, not a ‘me’ or an ‘I’ person,” Saylor said. “This isn’t my office. This is the people’s. … If someone comes in, or calls, and needs our help with something, it may be one of the most important things in their life at that moment.”
The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office can be reached at, (606) 789-3411.