2018 Child Endangerment Report

Sheriff John Whetsel, Sheriff’s Department, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma

John Whetsel is a retired Oklahoma County Sheriff who served from 1997-2017. Sheriff Whetsel began his law enforcement career in 1967; he joined the Choctaw Police Department in 1973 and served as Choctaw Chief of Police for 21 years before being elected Sheriff. Sheriff Whetsel has an Associate degree in Police Science, a Bachelor’s degree in Government and Sociology, and Master’s studies in Criminal Justice. Sheriff Whetsel is a past president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police, the Oklahoma Sheriffs’Association and the Oklahoma Sheriff and Peace Officers Association. He chairs the National Sheriff’s Association Traffic Safety Committee; is a member of the NSA’s Victim Services Committee, the Major County Sheriff’s Association, the Chrysler Police Advisory Board; and is part of a group that has produced four law enforcement traffic safety training videos. Sheriff Whetsel is the recipient of many honors including the J. Stannard Baker Excellence in Traffic Safety National Award in 2011, the Oklahoma Rifle Association Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in 2011 and in 1998, Oklahoma County Bar Association Liberty Bell Award, AARP 50 over 50 Award, National Sheriffs’ Victim Services Award, Oklahoma Sheriffs Association 2006 Sheriff of the Year, Oklahoma Transit Association Keith Leftwich Connection Award, University of Central Oklahoma Distinguished Former Student, Society of 40 and 8 Oklahoma Grand Law Officer of the Year, and the Distinguished Service Award by the National Police Administration of the Republic of China (Taiwan). In 2011, Sheriff Whetsel was inducted into the Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Hall of Fame and received the Bill Tilghman Award with his induction into the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Hall of Fame. Sheriff Whetsel has personal experience as a victim of drunk driving. In 1980, his first wife and 2-year-old daughter were killed in a crash when their car was broadsided during the police pursuit of a drunk driver. In addition, Whetsel’s 4-year-old daughter was critically injured. Unaware his family members were victims in the crash, Whetsel was dispatched to the scene. The devastating experience fueled his efforts as a law enforcement officer, and he was a strong traffic safety advocate throughout his career.


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