By Alyssa Schnugg
The son of Mississippi’s longest-serving sheriff has decided to attempt to follow in his father’s footsteps.
Oxford Police Chief Joey East announced Tuesday he was going to run for Lafayette County sheriff during the start of the Oxford Board of Aldermen meeting.
East is the son of the late F.D. “Buddy” East, who served as Lafayette County’s sheriff from 1972 until he died in September after a brief illness. He was 76 years old.
The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors appointed John Hill as interim sheriff. It was unknown Tuesday if Hill was planning to run in 2019 to retain the position.
During the meeting, East announced his intent to run for the office and requested a temporary leave of absence so that he could focus on his campaign.
The aldermen granted the request; however, they did not say when his leave of absence would begin. The aldermen will now need to appoint an interim chief during East’s absence.
East has been in law enforcement for 27 years, with 24 of those years serving with the Oxford Police Department.
East said he plans to officially qualify to run for sheriff on Jan. 2 when the qualification period for the 2019 elections opens.
The police chief said becoming sheriff one day was something he and his father talked about often.
“After his passing, it was heavy on my heart,” East said. “I just didn’t have the same feeling about it but then a lot of people reached out to me and encouraged me. I prayed a lot about it and decided this was something I needed to do.”