County names new Chief Deputy
KEARNEYSVILLE — Sheriff Pete Dougherty has appointed long-time deputy Ronald Fletcher to the position of Chief Deputy at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department. Fletcher stepped into his new role on Aug. 6.
The Chief Deputy position has been vacant since the retirement of Jesse Jones in December of 2017. Jones had served in the role under the previous six sheriffs.
“Jesse was a great role model — a great man to learn from. Everyone was fortunate to learn from him during his tenure here,” Fletcher said, mentioning he has been a Jefferson County officer for 17 years, beginning as a road deputy in 2001, at age 20.
Along with being a road deputy, Fletcher has trained in investigations and is one out of a few officers able to complete accident reconstruction. Fletcher has been a sergeant for the last 11 years.
After Jones retired, Dougherty left the position open for a few months, to give himself time to make the right choice in filling the vacancy. Dougherty was committed to promoting from within the department, and decided Fletcher was the best fit for the job, after considering several individuals within the department.
“Ronald’s long tenure of experience in the department was instrumental. I see him as the best fit. He is calm in a crisis, a good communicator and a multi-tasker with good organizational ability,” Dougherty said, mentioning Fletcher will oversee all personnel in the department and plan for potential future needs in the department.
While Fletcher said he is a little nervous about stepping into the new position, he is also very excited.
“I love this job. I like the guys I work with. From the time of the Junior Cadets even after 2007, I love it,” Fletcher said, referring to his experiences in high school as a Junior Cadet and being shot in the line of duty on Feb. 19, 2007, while responding to a breaking and entering call.
Fletcher sees his move as a positive one for the department. In the near future, Fletcher plans to sit down with each employee to discuss their goals, strengths and weaknesses, and to see how he can assist them in their professional growth.
“I don’t want to lose touch [with the day-to-day role of the deputies]. I have been there, done it with them and know what they’re talking about,” Fletcher said, mentioning his experience in his past position will help him and the officers understand each others’ challenges and needs.
Fletcher not only serves the community while working at the Sheriff’s Department, but also serves the community in his free time, as the president of Citizens Fire Company — a position he has held for 10 years. He also serves as the president of both the Jefferson County Fire and Rescue Association and the Jefferson County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, which does charitable work within the county.
Fletcher said he appreciates the knowledge he received from Jones over the years.
“Jesse is a tough act to follow and I will never fill his shoes,” Fletcher said. “But I can stay on the same path.”