LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. - Mike Blakely has served Limestone County as sheriff for 36 years. On Wednesday, Judge Robert Baker swore Blakely in for his tenth term, which breaks the state record for consecutive terms for a sheriff.
"It really is very humbling to, first of all, be elected to public office but when you've been elected 10 times and you see people that supported you from day one and still support you that is very humbling,” says Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely.
Blakely says he is amazed at how much Limestone County has evolved in the 36 years he has been in office.
“When you think about it there's been so much change. Number one, Limestone County's population was about was about 40,000 people in 1982 when I was first elected, now we've got probably 100,000 plus.”
Another thing that has changed over the years is Blakely’s mindset. “One of the greatest things about being sheriff is that as a younger sheriff, I was kind of an adrenaline junkie, kicking doors in and those types of things. But the more years I’ve spent as sheriff, the greatest joy I get is getting to help people.”
Blakely says he has learned a lot over the years of serving Limestone County, but one thing remains the same. “If you treat people right, treat people fair, they will return the favor."
Many say Blakely is synonymous with Limestone County. He says he's just doing what he loves, serving others.
“When you go home at the end of the day and believe that you might have made an impact on somebody’s life, that's what makes it all worthwhile and that's what I enjoy about it,” says Blakely.
While Blakely is not new to the position, he does have some new goals for this term.
“We have Project Lifesaver. We provide bracelets for people that suffer from Alzheimer’s or Dementia and there’s probably more people out there that should take advantage of that then they have. We have tried to make sure the public knows about it and it’s been very successful. We know it’s been able to save lives by being able to locate people that might be able to wander off and we are able to find them in a timely manner. We’d like to expand that more”
Another one of Blakely’s goals is to focus on the elderly.
“Something we want to continue to expand on is the adopt a senior program. Many more people are getting older and they don’t have people around to take care of them, so our deputies go out and check on some of these older people if they are in a situation where they don’t have someone to do that.”
When this term is over, Blakely will have served Limestone County for 40 years. He says, he does not plan on running for reelection again.
“I’ve made the decision that once this term is over, I plan on retiring. I’ll ride horses, play golf, and go to the coffee shops and talk about politicians like they talk about me.”