Commissioners to consider new acting sheriff for Midland County

MIDLAND, Tx (KOSA) -- Midland County is still looking to fill the position of acting sheriff, following the death of longtime leader Gary Painter. Commissioner Randy Prude said that in Monday’s upcoming meeting he’ll nominate a new candidate.

Prude, who represents Precinct 4, plans to propose Richard Gillette for the acting sheriff job. Gillette currently works as an investigator for the district attorney, and was part of the Midland County Sheriff’s office for 22 years.

“I would do my part to continue Sheriff Painter’s mission” Gillette said. “Providing service to the citizens of Midland County and to help take care of the brave men and women that work at the sheriff’s office.”

In last week’s meeting, commissioners nominated Chief Deputy Rory McKinney and Constable David Criner to be acting sheriff, but both only received two out of five votes. Prude didn't vote for either of nominee.

“The office is vacant,” Prude said, “And were we to have filled it last Friday and somebody else wins the election next spring, you’ve got a lame duck sheriff in there for a long period of time, at least nine more months.”

Prude thinks that Gillette can be a neutral party, who will step down when a new sheriff is elected.

“I have no political aspirations,” Gillette said. “I will not run for sheriff on my own. If they appoint me that would be a great honor, and if not I’ll be happy to finish my career at the district attorney’s office.”

Still, there are many who believe that Painter’s longtime right-hand man McKinney should be given the position.

“I know this is hard on everybody,” Prude said. “When you have people that like somebody, and somebody else likes somebody else, they’ll always have strong opinions. I understand that. I believe Richard [Gillette] will be the absolute best thing for this community and the best thing for the sheriff’s department.”

McKinney had no comment for this story.

In a text to CBS7, David Criner wrote “I am honored that so many people have reached out and encouraged me to run and serve Midland in this way. However, I have not yet made a decision.”

Prude said he hasn’t spoken with any of his fellow commissioners about his nomination of Gillette, and that things could go in any direction on Monday.