Zachary Scott Selected New Sheriff For Franklin County

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The Democratic Party selected Sergeant Zachary Scott to serve the unexpired term of the late sheriff Jim Karnes.
The Democratic Party selected Sergeant Zachary Scott to serve the unexpired term of the late sheriff Jim Karnes.

Franklin County has a new sheriff-in-waiting. The Democratic Party selected Sergeant Zachary Scott to serve the unexpired term of the late sheriff Jim Karnes. Official swearing-in ceremonies are pending. But Sergeant Scott says he’s ready to assume the top law enforcement post for the county. WOSU’s Tom Borgerding has a profile.

Fifty-two-year-old Zachary Scott has served 26 years in the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department. His promotion will mark the first change in administration in nearly two decades. Scott’s mentor, the late Sheriff Jim Karnes, died after battling pancreatic cancer.

“This was a big shock for a lot of our deputies and civilians. First of all, 95 percent of this office has not been through an administration change. So that within itself is very traumatic for a lot of people. It puts them on edge. They’re anxious. Sheriff Karnes had been our sheriff for 18 1/2 years. And so, like I said, maybe five percent of the people here have ever went through two or three administration changes.”

The Franklin County Democratic Party leadership selected Scott from a field of three candidates. Karnes promoted Scott to sergeant this spring and moved him to the community relations division. He’ll complete the current four year term. But will have to face Franklin County voters in November of 2012 if he wants to remain sheriff. Scott says he’s already preparing for a campaign.

“I’d been preparing to position myself to run for sheriff in 2012. And so, the sheriff and I have been working on this for probably 2  1/2 years.”

During his years at the county sheriff’s office, Scott has worked undercover. He was lead investigator in the I-270 serial shooting case. But he says he’ll quickly turn his attention to budget issues when he assumes office. He will be in charge of 880 employees and a yearly operating budget north of $90,000,000.

“We have to look at some of the money issues. Maybe we’re leaking some money that we shouldn’t be and so we need to tighten up those areas.

Scott says “overtime issues” will be among the first area to get his attention. Scott has a daughter who works at the county jail and a son on the Columbus police force. He is expected to be sworn-in before July 1st.

Photo and Video by: Ally Marotti

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