Kevin Lake retiring Friday after long tenure as Panola County sheriff

Crime & Public Safety

CARTHAGE, Texas (KETK) — Kevin Lake’s last day on the job as Panola County sheriff is Friday. He is retiring after 29 years.

“I have had a blessed career, serving all of my adult life in law enforcement in Panola County,” said Lake. “I have worked with some of the best people on earth, and I mean that! We have laughed together, we have cried together and everything in between. … There’s been a lot of changes and accomplishments along the way, and I leave hoping I’ve maybe left it just a little better than I found it.”

Lake said he will maintain his peace officer commission and serve as a reserve deputy constable for Constable Bryan Murff.

In this June 19, 2020, photo, Panola County Sheriff Kevin Lake is seen with Sarah Fields. Lake is retiring on Friday and Fields is becoming active sheriff.

Capt. Sarah Fields will serve as acting sheriff until an election is held to fill the position. She has had a 30-year career in law enforcement and has worked in each division of the sheriff’s office, said the announcement from Lake.

“She is ready, and I have full confidence in her ability to serve as your sheriff,” Lake said. “I know an agency is only as good as its leadership, and I know this agency will be in very capable hands.”

In a post on Facebook, Lake thanked many people for their support over the years.

“I would like to thank this community for believing in me, trusting me, and supporting me, even when outsiders expressed their own random, obtuse, and benighted opinions of tragic cases our office has been tasked to work. Your support is appreciated more than you know.”

He thanked East Texas news outlets “for teaming with us to report the happenings of our community and the PCSO activities. We have all tried to report what we could, when we could, but as you know, for the protection of the cases we work, we can’t always report everything everyone wants to know.”

He also acknowledged the support of his family.

“I want to thank my family, especially my wife, my son and my daughter,” he continued. “I am most grateful not only for their support, but for always being understanding when I couldn’t be at ballgames, parties, missing Christmas and other events, and for the times I had to suddenly leave in the middle of something important that we were doing together. You guys are the reason for all I do!”

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