Story by Emma Crisler, editor, The Port Gibson Reveille
As 2020 arrived and both county and city boards met for the first time Jan. 6, not only were there new people sitting in every supervisors’ seat in the Matt Ross Building in Claiborne County, but changes had come to people working for the county as well.
In the sheriff’s department, not only was Sheriff Edward Goods the new sheriff but the chief deputy also had changed. The sheriff had selected Christy Sykes, the first woman chief deputy in Claiborne County.
Goods and Sykes had several connections including that they attended the Law Enforcement Academy together. They also worked together for 13 years at Alcorn State University.
As the Sheriff stated, he had observed her intelligence and noted the training courses she had passed, many of which would be useful if she were hired in his department.
“Chief Deputy Christy Sykes is the backbone of my department,” Goods said. “I’m the politician.” But most of all “I can trust her — a very important matter.
Chief Deputy Sykes
Sykes will receive her fourth degree from Alcorn State University later this month in athletic administration and compliance. Earlier, she earned degrees in criminal justice, workforce education, and an athletic management degree covering health, votec and technology.
She is the wife of Robert Sykes and the mother of three children, a daughter and two sons ranging in age from 6 to 16. Her parents are Harry and Shirley Williams (deceased).
Claiborne County Sheriff’s Department
The chief deputy said she interviewed for a job locally and put together a portfolio. She intended to keep her job at Alcorn and take on a job at the sheriff’s department, not knowing that Sheriff Goods was going to pick her as his chief deputy. As it turned out, she had also worked under former Sheriff Frank Davis when he worked as chief of police at Alcorn, and she knew some of the Claiborne County deputies from Alcorn.
Since she began her job, Sykes said they had dealt with some cases that were left over from the previous administration. There were also a few murders, petty crimes, cyberbullying and more domestic abuse that might be caused by the pandemic.
“But crime is down right now,” she said.
Sykes sees a few differences between her earlier law enforcement jobs and the one she has now.
At Alcorn, there were long hours to handle big events such as football game days, she said, but now, “I’m on call all the time.”
She added that people in law enforcement need to have their job in their hearts — some might call it complete dedication.
Fifteen deputies work full time or part time in the sheriff’s office with a “great auxillary,” she said.
During this first year, Sykes said they are trying to do things differently, especially on the technical side. They want to use computers to record everything instead of hand writing every action they take on a case.
She also mentioned bringing the 911 system up to date as an essential project.
Communication skills are also important.
“People will listen if you talk to them, and they will do what you ask of them,” she said. Keeping your ears open is also vital.
“Mrs. Sykes likes to be in the background,” Sheriff Goods said, but according to Sykes, “I can come out when needed.”
“I like to empower people, and I want to show this community that a female can do this job,” Goods said.
We wish Chief Deputy Christy Sykes much success in her important job working for Sheriff Goods and hope both will maintain their jobs keeping Claiborne County safe for a long time to come.
A version of this story appeared in The Port Gibson Reveille newspaper, and is reprinted here with permission.