Longtime Russell County Sheriff Larry Bennett is retiring at the end of this month. In a statement to WJRS NEWS, Bennett said this was one of the toughest decisions he has ever made but feels he has no other choice after meeting recently with a representative of the Kentucky Retirement Systems.
Now in his sixth term, Larry Bennett is the longest serving Sheriff in the county’s history having served as Sheriff since taking office in January 1990. Prior to being elected Sheriff, he served 5 years with the Kentucky State Police.
When Bennett first became Sheriff he had only two full-time Deputies and one office person with a tax base of $1.6 million. Twenty three years later, the Sheriff’s Department has nine full-time Deputies, two full-time office personnel and twelve part-time court security officers at the Russell County Judicial Center. The tax base now is $8.8 million.
In a statement to the public provided to WJRS NEWS, Sheriff Bennett said, “Serving as Russell County Sheriff has been the greatest honor, and I want to thank the citizens of Russell County for giving me the opportunity to serve as your Sheriff.” Bennett went on to say the friendships made and trust placed in him will never be forgotten. He also thanked his Deputies, office personnel and court security officers for doing an outstanding job, always serving with honor and dedication.
Bennett’s retirement becomes effective December 31st.
WJRS NEWS has confirmed that County Judge-Executive Gary Robertson will appoint Bennett’s current Chief Deputy, Lee Smith, to the position of Sheriff. Smith will assume the duties of Sheriff on January 1st and will serve the remaining two years of Bennett’s unexpired term.