Canadian County Sheriff Chris West attributes education and background in law enforcement as a key to winning election to office in 2016.
Those qualities earned over the course of 38 years are now allowing him to represent state and county law enforcement at the national level. West was named to the office of Secretary for the National Sheriff’s Association in Phoenix during late June. West was already serving on the NSA Board of Directors before running unopposed for Secretary on the Executive Committee. As a member of the Executive Committee, West is now in line to serve as the President of the Association in five years.
“The leadership of the Oklahoma State Association encouraged me to do it,” he said. “After I got on the board in 2019, they wanted to know if I was interested in getting on the executive committee.”
West currently serves on the OSA as First Vice President and will become President next year.
He is also a member of the Western State Sheriff Association.
West was sworn into his new office by NSA President Vernon Stanforth, sheriff of Fayette County, Ohio.
“It’s an honor to have been able to swear Sheriff West into this very important leadership role with the National Sheriffs Association. His citizens should be very proud that their sheriff is serving not only their county, but sheriffs and their constituents from all across the country,” Stanforth said.
Representing the county and the state and having the access to help make effective change when needed proved to be a strong lure for West. In his national duties, West insists the state organization pay expenses, so the burden does not fall on taxpayers of the county.
“I want to be part of an organization that works for all sheriffs,” he said.
West pointed out sheriff departments across the nation deal with different challenges. In the East, offices operate a little differently and not all are full-service agencies.
Even in Oklahoma with its 77 counties, sheriffs may not necessarily have the same day-to-day experiences. In Canadian County, it is a mixture with suburb communities along with a rural area.
“We are the fourth most populated county in the state,” West said. “Not all the needs are the same in the OSA. And a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. I want to represent all sheriffs of Oklahoma and the NSA is the same approach. I am there to present all sheriff’s and their constituents.”
The National Sheriffs’ Association is one of the largest nonprofit associations of law enforcement professionals in the United States, representing more than 3,000 elected sheriffs across the nation, and with a total membership of approximately 14,000 individuals. NSA is dedicated to raising the level of professionalism among sheriffs, their deputies, and others in the field of law enforcement, public safety, and criminal justice.
West, who has also served as undersheriff and as a member of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, is eager to represent both the county and state in his new office, promoting the needs of law enforcement and residents.
“I had a great career with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol,” he said, “and I know it is because of my experience and education that made me a viable candidate to be sheriff. But the two jobs are different. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol mission was very large, and you may have two patrolmen in a county. With the sheriff’s department, I like the close interaction with the constituents.”