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Rural Blog: Retired McCracken Co. Sheriff Hayden appointed sheriff of Graves Co. after death of friend

A former sheriff in one far Western Kentucky county has been appointed sheriff of an adjoining county, to fill the vacancy created by the death of a friend who was re-elected in November despite being indicted in August for drug possession.

Graves County Judge-Executive Jesse Perry appointed retired McCracken County Sheriff Jon Hayden on Feb. 28. “After the announcement, Hayden, 52, briefly hugged Patty Redmon, widow of Sheriff Dewayne Redmon,” Shelley Byrne reports for The Mayfield Messenger.

In Graves County, Jon Hayden can use the same nameplate that he used in McCracken County. (Photo from Rural Blog)

“Perry talked of healing the divide in the community caused by Redmon’s indictment on drug possession charges in August, his ultimate re-election as sheriff in November and his passing Feb. 16,” Byrne reports, quoting him: “This has been a tough road for Graves County, and it’s time for us to rebuild this county. We’ve been hurting. We’ve been hurting for a long time. … My plan is to bring everybody back together. It’s time to start over.”

Hayden will serve at least until an election in November to fill the remaining three years of Redmon’s unexpired term. He declined to say if he would consider seeking the Democratic nomination for the unexpired term, saying, “We don’t need politics within the Graves County Sheriff’s Office right now.”

“Hayden and Redmon were well known to be close friends for years. Graves County Chief Deputy Sheriff Davant Ramage also served under Hayden as a McCracken County deputy for a time,” Byrne reports. “Although most of Hayden’s career was spent in McCracken County, he and his wife are both from Graves County . . . His family remains in Graves County, and Hayden moved back to the county last year after retiring as McCracken County sheriff on July 1.” Kentucky’s residency requirement for election as sheriff is only one year.

Hayden was elected McCracken County sheriff in 2006, 2010 and 2014, the last two times without opposition. Since November, he had been working for the McCracken sheriff’s office “in a newly designed role, assigned as an agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and working in Kentucky counties west of Bowling Green,” Byrne reports.

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The Rural Blog is a digest of events, trends, issues, ideas and journalism from and about rural America, from the IRJCI, based at the University of Kentucky. The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues is an extension program for rural journalists and news outlets. It takes no positions on issues and advocates only for strong news coverage, responsible commentary and things that make them possible, such as open-government laws. For more information see www.RuralJournalism.org.

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