Longest-running Bryan Co. sheriff retires after 20 years

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BRYAN COUNTY, OKLAHOMA -- After twenty years on the job, Bryan County Sheriff Bill Sturch says the years haven't blurred the memory of his first day.

"Oh yes, without any doubt, I can remember my first day," Sturch said.

In 1992, his predecessor resigned early; a few weeks before Sturch was set to take office.

Sturch got a call saying he needed to come in early.

"I said, 'I'm not supposed to get sworn in until next week the first of January.' She hung up!" Sturch said.

It was off to an early start for Sturch.

"We were trying to figure out what to do because nobody had told us how they were handling the county," Sturch said.

It didn't take him long to learn the ropes.

"You've got to be a good manager and you've got to work with everyone. You've got to treat everyone equal," Sturch said.

Over the years, Sturch has been on the frontlines of Bryan County's growth.

"When I first took office, the jail had an average of about 20-25-30 people in it. Today, it's got 125-30 people in it on an average day," Sturch said.

And as the longest-running county sheriff, his advice for the next guy?

"Sometimes you need to go off by yourself. The best thing for me to do, sit down here for a while, go home that evening, sleep that night and then address it," Sturch said.

Sturch says he's sad to close the door on these two decades of his life.

"And now I'm gunna retire.... Who knows," Sturch said.

And who will be the next Bryan County sheriff?

Today, Ken Golden and John Bates are the Democrats in a runoff for that position.

One of them will face Republican candidate John Wyatt in the November election.

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