ENID, Okla. — New county officials and deputies were sworn in Monday morning at Garfield County Court House, including the new sheriff and undersheriff.

Cory Rink was sworn in by Judge Tom Newby as Garfield County’s new sheriff, replacing incumbent Jody Helm after winning the Aug. 25 runoff. Joining him Monday morning was Undersheriff Shawna Cornish-Pitman, whom Rink swore in as the first female undersheriff of Garfield County.

More than 20 deputies also were sworn in by Rink, including former Sgt. Ryan Fuxa, who retired from Enid Police Department after 22 years in December to join the sheriff’s office as a lieutenant.

Incumbent Lorie Legere was sworn in as the county clerk. She was elected to the position in April 2016 and took office in June 2016. She was automatically re-elected, as she was the only candidate who filed for the position last year.

Also sworn in was incumbent Reese Wedel as District 2 county commissioner. Wedel was elected in June 2012 and took office that November after former commissioner Mike Postier’s early retirement. Like Legere, Wedel was the only candidate who filed for the position.

Sheriff Cory Rink

Rink has 13 years of experience in law enforcement and 1,500 hours of law enforcement training. He was born and raised in Covington and said he remembers being 8 years old and dreaming of one day becoming the sheriff for Garfield County.

After turning 18, Rink entered into emergency services, joining Covington Volunteer Fire Department, serving as a firefighter, assistant chief and chief, according to his candidate website. At 21 years old, Rink was hired as chief of Covington Police Department.

In 2011, Rink joined Garfield County Sheriff’s office, serving as patrol deputy, transport deputy and investigator before leaving in 2015 to work for the Noble County Sheriff’s Office. In the 2016 election, he ran for sheriff against Jerry Niles, taking 41.46%, or 2,448, of the total votes.

Rink joined Noble County Sheriff’s Office under Sheriff Charlie Hanger to “expand his knowledge of effective leadership in law enforcement and gain insight on what it takes to maintain a community-centered department,” according to the candidate website.

“I learned a lot from Sheriff Hanger,” Rink said. “I learned what the job of sheriff is supposed to be, and it’s out serving the public, serving the community — being open to the public, answering questions.”

Rink said like Hanger, his door will always be open to the people in Garfield County.

Rink said his immediate plan as sheriff is revamping the schedule, which he said will benefit the community and help employees not accrue as much compensatory time.

He said he also plans on getting himself and his deputies out patrolling the rural areas, as well as working with every police department and law enforcement agency in Garfield County and surrounding counties, to better serve the public.

Rink said one of his goals is to get deputies into schools for a school resource program for the county.

“I want our schools and the kids seeing our deputies in their schools,” Rink said. “Hopefully once or twice a week, they’ll see a deputy in there kind of doing a walkthrough and just saying, ‘Hi.’”

Another goal of Rink’s is for the sheriff’s office to solve as many of the crimes that come through as they can. “No victims left behind,” he said.

Rink’s overall duty, he said, is to the community.

“My purpose here is to protect and serve, and that’s everybody, no matter who they are,” Rink said. “I’m going to serve everybody in this county.”

Undersheriff Shawna Cornish-Pitman

With nearly 23 years of law enforcement experience, Waukomis native Cornish-Pitman started working as a dispatcher-jailer with Garfield County Sheriff’s Office in 1998, and after three years she moved from dispatch to uniformed service as a deputy. Over the next several years, she worked her way up from patrol to investigations, becoming the department’s first forensic investigator.

In 2011, after 13 years at Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, Cornish-Pitman went on to serve as an investigator for Oklahoma State Board of Pet Breeders, something she was passionate about. She was there for about a year, she said, before legislative action dissolved the board and turned it over to Oklahoma Department of Agriculture.

She then went to work for Canadian County Sheriff’s Office, where she worked until recently. She returned home and married Dean Pitman in October 2020. Prior to the primary election, she and Rink, who’ve known each other for about 13 years, spoke about Cornish-Pitman becoming Rink’s undersheriff.

“I told him I would be more than happy to do that,” she said. “I’m honored that he thought of me to stand up next to him and be his undersheriff.”

Cornish-Pitman is the first female undersheriff for Garfield County, which she said is a huge accomplishment and very empowering.

“Young girls need to know that they can do this, too,” she said. “Don’t ever let anybody tell you just because you’re a woman, you can’t do it.

“I want to get a chance to get out and start talking to these young folks in the counties and communities — that you can do anything that you want to do. You can be anything you want to be, regardless of how old you are. Dreams do come true.”

Some of Cornish-Pitman’s plans as undersheriff include working together with Rink on making sure deputies have the training they need, as well as bringing the DARE program back to schools, she said.

Cornish-Pitman and Rink have the same ideas for the direction they want the sheriff’s office to go, including the DARE program, keeping their doors open, being out in rural areas, creating a sense of family in the office and deputy training on things such as investigations, crime scenes, sexual assaults and domestic violence.

“We’re going to make sure we put out good training for our folks about the way we are serving the public,” Rink said.

Overall, Cornish-Pitman said she is happy to be back serving her home county. She said working in a big city wasn’t for her, and Garfield County is where her heart is.

“I’m excited to be here at the sheriff’s office where I started my career, and this is where I’ll remain for the remainder of my career,” Cornish-Pitman said. “This is a community that has a lot of wonderful people, and I’m just thrilled. I couldn’t be more excited to be back home and be able to do this.”

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Kelci McKendrick is police and court reporter for the Enid News & Eagle. 
 
Have a question about this story? Do you see something we missed? Do you have a story idea for Kelci? Send an email to kelcim@enidnews.com.

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