FORT GIBSON, Okla. — Muskogee County Sheriff Rob Frazier was hired as Fort Gibson police chief and could start by February.
Fort Gibson Board of Trustees hired Frazier as chief Monday night. He replaces Donnie Yarbrough who resigned Dec. 23 after being removed from his post in August.
Frazier said he plans to resign his elected sheriff position effective Jan. 31 so he could take over at Fort Gibson on Feb. 1.
Mayor Michael Sharpe said Frazier brings extensive leadership qualities to the job.
"He has extensive contacts with other law enforcement, which will be a good thing for Fort Gibson," Sharpe said. "He brings a breath of fresh air into the town, and at this time, the town needs that."
He said Frazier will bring an "immediate positive situation" to the police department.
"We have a bunch of good, young police officers here," Sharpe said. "We believe his leadership skills would be fantastic for the town of Fort Gibson."
Frazier said he's excited about coming to Fort Gibson "because it's a young department."
"I'm hoping my experience and leadership can help them," he said. "I don't think anything needs to be done in Fort Gibson, except that they need a good strong leader."
He said he plans to spend his first months on the job getting acquainted with employees and police department procedures and policies.
"Just see how everyone works, then we'll move in and see what needs to be done," he said. "But first, it would be a lot of observing."
He said the Fort Gibson post would not have the stresses involved with the sheriff's position.
"When I ran for sheriff I knew I wasn't going to be the sheriff forever," he said.
Frazier does not live in Fort Gibson, but plans to move there. He said he has a son who is a junior at Oktaha High School.
"My wife is from here and my in-laws currently live here," Frazier said. "This was just a better position."
Sharpe said trustees talked with five candidates, who were all qualified.
City Administrator Brian DeShazo said Frazier's salary will be $64,000 a year.
"He's a proven leader," DeShazo said about Frazier. "I'm confident in him about his leadership. Just from his experience in past positions."
Frazier was elected sheriff in 2016 after working as a Muskogee Police Department investigator attached to the FBI Violent Crime Task Force.
Fort Gibson Police Sgt. Michael Roberts said he believes Frazier will bring a professional, positive atmosphere to the department.
Muskogee County Commissioner Ken Doke said commissioners would need to appoint someone to complete Frazier's term.
"This is his election year, so the election will go on in 2020," Doke said. "The next sheriff who gets elected in 2020, either in June, if there is no primary, or November."
The filing period for county offices is April 8-10.
Doke said Frazier has not submitted his official resignation.
In November, Tulsa attorney Gary Richardson filed a tort claim against the Town of Fort Gibson following alleged misconduct by Yarbrough. Richardson's letter alleged that Yarbrough sexually harassed and assaulted multiple women working in the department.