By Alyssa Schnugg
The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors appointed Chief Deputy John Hill, a 25-year veteran with the sheriff’s department, as the county’s sheriff Wednesday morning.
However, Supervisor and board president Jeff Busby said that decision was made already by the late Sheriff F.D. “Buddy” East who died Saturday after a brief illness.
“When Buddy appointed (Hill) as chief deputy several months ago, he made his choice then,” Busby said. “He knew in his line of work anything could happen at any time.”
Chancery Court Judge Glenn Alderson swore Hill into office after the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve the recommendation to appoint Hill.
Hill will serve as sheriff until Dec. 2019, which is when East’s term would have ended. An election will be held in November 2019.
East was the longest-serving sheriff in Mississippi and second longest in the nation. He was appointed sheriff in 1972 and won 11 elections to retain the position before his death Saturday. Family members said East planned on running again in 2019.
Before swearing in Hill, Busby spent a few moments speaking about East and his service to Lafayette County.
“He was not only our sheriff,” Busby said. “He was more than that to this community. He was a mentor and a father figure to so many. He was a legend. But I think above all else, Buddy would have wanted to be remembered as a family man. He put family and most of all, God, above all else … I will sorely miss him. But we do have to move forward.”
Surrounded by several family members and deputies, Hill swore to uphold the laws of the United States Constitution and the Mississippi State Constitution and to “faithfully discharge the duties” as sheriff of Lafayette County.