Sheriff’s Posse marks 20 years of support for Hopkins County
By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor
Oct 29, 2007 - A side branch of the Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office celebrated its 20th anniversary this past weekend.
The Hopkins County Sheriff’s Posse honored members past and present Saturday in a special service complete with honor and color guards, “Taps,” a gun salute and a riderless horse to represent former members no longer living.
Following the event, they enjoyed fellowship with members, former members and family of past members on the “parade grounds” just beyond the sally port at Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office.
The group was founded in 1987. Interestingly enough the original 19 members were sworn in on Halloween night in Auguier Cemetery by then-Hopkins County Sheriff Mark Bassham.
Thanks to founders such as Kenneth Wisdom Sr. and Roger “Tex” Maynard's initiative, the Posse was built with a solid foundation consisting of high caliber individuals and peace officers, and has operated alongside three sheriffs.
The Sheriff’s Posse limits membership to 40 individuals, and at one time had close to that Maynard said. Today they have 15-20 members who aid other law enforcement agencies with felony manhunts, search and rescue operations, and often provide security at functions such as fairs and rodeos held at Hopkins County Regional Civic Center.
About half of the members of the Sheriff's Posse are certified peace officers and have received special training in areas such as horsemanship. The rest, although not certified peace officers, volunteer their time and skills to assist whenever needed.
"We operate under the authority of the sheriff,” said HC Sheriff's Posse Capt. and President Sam Tatum.
"We don't hunt up jobs," Maynard said. "The sheriff calls on us to work under some other county agency."
The Sheriff's Posse continues to be independently funded at no cost to taxpayers, relying on contributions from community members for support. Those funds are used for operations and such special projects as a grave marker honoring late Posse member Kenneth Wisdom Sr., installed last November.
Volunteer activities are limited to Hopkins County, and all members must first go through a screening process. Potential members submit an application, must pass a background check and are vetted by the group's Board of Review.
Anyone interested in joining the group can contact Constable Maynard at his Precinct 1 office, or by calling 903-438-4001.