A.A., Criminal Justice
In 2008, Scott Walton was elected as Sheriff of Rogers County. His initiatives include programs such as a Rogers County CrimeStoppers program, a School Resource Deputy program, a Career Criminal Apprehension program, a functioning Reserve Deputy program, and much more including the building and growing of the Rogers County Sheriff's Office.
As a former Public Information Officer for the Tulsa Police Department, he was the public face of the state's second largest police force.
But even though he has a larger-than-life, engaging personality, he modestly considers the most important part of his job to be the basic nuts and bolts: communicating important public safety information to the media and the community.
Almost nightly, he appears on local television newscasts, describing crime scenes and providing information about the victims and assailants. He also is quoted in the Tulsa World on a regular basis. But before he was appointed to his current position six years ago, he held almost every assignment on the force.
“I have an interest in almost every facet of law enforcement,” said Walton, who is a 1976 graduate of Rogers State University (then Claremore Junior College.) “Public safety has always been a calling and passion for me.”
Growing up in Claremore, Walton was infatuated with the traditions of the Oklahoma Military Academy. “I always wanted to go to school on the Hill,” he says. “I thought the uniforms that the cadets wore were impressive and it was always a thrill to pass through the guard's gate when I visited my grandmother, who worked in the OMA bookstore.”
Enrolling at CJC just five years after the military academy closed, Walton quickly became immersed in campus life, although he was admittedly not the best student. “Like a lot of students, I didn't appreciate the learning process as much as I do now. But it wasn't from having a lack of inspirational teachers - I remember people like Eldon Hallum, June Purdum, Jerry Smith and others. They had a great faculty.”
Walton quickly befriended former Sen. Stratton Taylor, who also graduated from CJC in 1976, and they have remained close friends ever since.
He continued his education at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, where he earned a bachelor of science in business and industrial technology. After college, he held a few office jobs, but didn't enjoy “being stuck behind four walls.” It was then that he began to hone his interest in law enforcement, taking criminal law classes and gaining acceptance into the Tulsa Police Academy.
After completing the academy, he began developing a law enforcement career that has as much breadth and it does depth. Like all young graduates of the academy, he began as a patrol officer, the “backbone of police work” as he describes it, covering almost every neighborhood of the city.
Perhaps the hallmark of his career has been a constant desire to learn more about public safety and seek more training. After three years on the beat, he became a K-9 officer, a role that provided the thrill of the pursuit and fed “that adrenaline rush” as a young member of the force. “Every time something big was happening, a dog was present. The K-9 officer and his animal companion are always the first to go into a building to search for the bad guy.”
Three years later, he attended investigator's school and became a member of the department's detective division, conducting successful investigations into a wide variety of crimes, including homicides and drugs, and then became a member of the vice squad, going undercover to investigate illegal gambling, prostitution, and narcotics, which was a growing problem in Tulsa. “I always wanted to work dope and Mickey Perry, who was a state narcotics officer (currently Claremore chief of police), was a big inspiration to me.”
Maintaining his “pattern of threes,” Walton worked in the mounted horse patrol program for three years, combing the high crime areas of the city, then served as a member of the department's Street Crimes Units, which focusing on specific problems such as street drug deals, robberies, auto theft, and liquor law violations. In addition, he has been a member of several special task forces established by the department through the years.
Finally, after a three-year return to basic patrol work and a stint as a school resource officer, handling the security needs of local schools, “which involved more than responding to disturbances at schools - that role requires a lot of counseling and mentoring of students,” he was named public information officer.
“I really wanted this position,” he recalls. “We are so fortunate that the Tulsa Police Department enjoys a positive and productive relationship with the community.”
In his present role, he also serves as the official liaison to the Tulsa Citizens Crime Commission and is the coordinator of the popular and effective Crime Stoppers program, duties that have confirmed the high value he places on working with volunteers at the department.
“We have more than 100 people who volunteer their time at the department, helping us in almost every area, and we couldn't get along without them,” he said.
This spring, he announced his candidacy for Rogers County sheriff, which would be a “dream job” and culmination of his career.
Walton's basic philosophy of police work is a tough stance on crime. “Lawbreakers need to be in jail - period,” he says. He also would like to establish a Crime Stoppers program in Rogers County and utilize more volunteers at the sheriff's department, leveraging its effectiveness. In addition, he wants to place a renewed focus on rural crimes such as drug labs and stolen property while zeroing in on abuse of the elderly, child abuse (including the protection of children using the Internet), and the unique problems associated with a rapidly growing population in the mostly rural area of Rogers County.
Walton lives with his wife Rosalie in Inola. They have two sons, Matt, 23, and Joe, 20. “I want to come back and serve the community I have lived in all my life,” says Walton. “I want to apply the skills I have learned from a long law enforcement career in Tulsa and make Rogers County a better and safer place to live.”