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Longtime drug task force director retires

Sheriff Jeff Lawless, left, shakes the hands of recently retired Lawrence Drug and Major Crimes Task Force director Tim Sexton at his retirement party Wednesday at the Lawrence County Courthouse.

Sheriff Jeff Lawless, left, shakes the hands of recently retired Lawrence Drug and Major Crimes Task Force director Tim Sexton at his retirement party Wednesday at the Lawrence County Courthouse.

 

On Wednesday, friends and colleagues said farewell to a man who has been a fixture in Lawrence County law enforcement for more than 30 years.

Hugs and well-wishes were passed around the prosecutor’s office as Tim Sexton, 51, said his last goodbyes at his retirement party.

Sexton retired as the director of the Lawrence Drug and Major Crimes Task Force, a program that he started in 1997 after seeing a dire need for more drug enforcement in the county.

But it was many years before that when Sexton first realized he wanted a career in law enforcement.

“I was going to OU and I was driving home one night after a night class and I saw a trooper with someone stopped on the highway and I said, ‘That’s what I want to do. I want to get into law enforcement,’” Sexton recalled.

And the rest, Sexton said, is history.

After finishing up his first year at Ohio University Southern, Sexton, 19, applied at the Ohio State Highway Patrol and was hired on as a cadet dispatcher. Sexton also completed the academy and spent six years as a state trooper in Chillicothe and Ironton.

In 1987, Sexton went to work in the prosecutor’s office as an investigator under Lawrence County Prosecutor Richard Meyers.

Following that, Sexton left a mark on the community by starting the law enforcement program at Collins Career Center in 1990. He also worked in the work release and probation departments for Ironton Municipal Court.

“I don’t think there is anything related to criminal justice that I haven’t done,” Sexton laughed.

Then in 1992 after J.B. Collier Jr. was elected as county prosecutor, Sexton returned to the office as chief investigator.

After he implemented the drug task force in 1997, Sexton ran for Lawrence County sheriff in 2000 and served two terms, all the while continuing his job as task force director.

Sexton has also taught criminal justice class at OUS and currently serves on the Coal Grove Village Council.

Out of all Sexton’s accomplishments, County Prosecutor Brigham Anderson said the drug task force is the biggest.

“One of his biggest accomplishments for the county would be the installation of the drug task force,” Anderson said. “That was his doing, and without him, we may not have had the task force as it is today. He was instrumental in obtaining those grants in order to combat the drug problem we had, and continue to have.”

Anderson said Sexton would be missed as well.

“He’s been a tremendous help to the prosecutor’s office,” Anderson said. “He’s been a true asset. His knowledge of law enforcement and the law is incredible.”

Although Sexton is retiring from the prosecutor’s office, his work is not yet finished. He started work this week as law enforcement liaison for Ohio Department of Criminal Justice Services.

Sexton will travel throughout the state and be the main contact for the OCJS’s 32 task forces, as well as law enforcement agencies seeking grants.

And although Sexton will still live in Lawrence County, he said he will miss everyone he has worked with through the years.

I have friends here. It’s a friendly group of people,” Sexton said. “A very good group of people to work around. … And I always want to say thank you to all the people who thought enough of me to punch my name when I ran for office.

“I enjoy serving people. That’s all I’ve done since I was 19 years old and a cadet dispatcher. I’d like to say I’ve been a public servant. I’ve made positive impacts on people. And I think I’ve made a positive impact on Lawrence County.”