By Alyssa Schnugg
There’s a new sheriff in town and his name is Joey East.
On Tuesday, 81 percent of Lafayette County voters made their choice clear by voting for East to be the next sheriff.
East, who ran as a Democrat, received 12,099 votes during the Mississippi General Election. His opponent, Independent candidate Jeffrey South had 2,688 votes.
East won the Democratic nomination in August when he won against fellow Democrat Raymond Westley Sides in the primary election. There was no Republican candidate in the race.
After results were announced at the Lafayette County Courthouse, East was surrounded by friends, family and supporters who offered hugs, handshakes and congratulations.
East said he was overwhelmed by the support he received during his campaign and at the polls.
“I can’t even put it in words,” he said. “The ones who voted for me, thank you. It’s been a roller coaster from losing my dad and then leaving one job and trying to get another job. It’s been a tough year but I’m looking forward to jumping in and getting started.”
East is currently the Chief of Police for the Oxford Police Department; however, once he announced his plans to run for Sheriff, the Oxford Board of Aldermen granted him permission to take a temporary leave of absence. Then-Maj. Jeff McCutchen was appointed Interim Chief to serve during East’s leave.
East’s father, F.D. Buddy East, served as the sheriff of Lafayette County for more than 40 years until his death in September 2018.
At 20 years old, East was hired as a dispatcher for the Oxford Police Department and has been in law enforcement for more than 28 years where he has worked his way through the ranks.
East said he ran for Lafayette County Sheriff because he cares about this community and the people who live in it.
“I have spent my entire adult life working and protecting this community, I know this community and the families that live here,” East told Hottytoddy.com recently. “Being sheriff has always been a dream of mine and I have spent the last 28 plus years studying, training and preparing myself for this position.”