MIAMI COUNTY — Sheriff Charles A. Cox was many different names to many different people — husband, father, brother, grandfather, detective, friend — and was “The People’s Sheriff” to the residents of Miami County, whom he served for seven consecutive terms.
Cox was honored during a memorial service held at Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church by family, friends and fellow officers on Tuesday. He passed away on Nov. 10.
“His integrity was an example to us all,” said Acting Sheriff Dave Duchak. “Not only was he the people’s sheriff, but he was a cop’s cop. He never forgot where he came from, which was evidence by him always being involved with his staff.”
Duchak said he’ll treasure a coin Cox gave to him last year. The coin was given to Cox by a sheriff out West when Cox was running against an opponent years ago.
“The sheriff told me to always keep it with me to help protect and keep me safe from the evil in the world — I always have and I always will. It will be something I’ll always treasure,” he said. “That’s the kind of guy he was, constantly looking out for others.”
Duchak said he can only imagine the sheriff looking down and smiling down on us.
“I’m a better person for knowing Sheriff Cox. Miami County is a better county having had him as their sheriff for 28 years,” said Duchak in closing.
A creature of habit, Cox could be found in the drive-thru of McDonalds ordering two large cups of coffee every morning — one for the cruise around the county and the other for the office.
Captain Jamie McGlinch sent out the Last Call for Sheriff Cox over the 9-1-1 dispatch radio.
“You have completed your mission here. You have been a great leader, colleague and friend. We shall always be in your debt. We shall remember your friendly smile and compassion. Now it it is your time to rest. All units, break for a moment of silence,” Capt. McGlinch said over the intercom. “Sheriff Charles A. Cox, may you rest in peace knowing your strength lives on with your children, your love lives on with your wife (Lynn), and your honor lives on in all of us. Sheriff Charles A. Cox, thank you for your service. You taught us well, you’ve earned your rest. We’ve got it from here.”
Colleagues shared stories serving with Cox over his long career in law enforcement, beginning at the Troy Police Department, before he jumped over to the sheriff’s office.
Piqua Police Department Chief Bruce Jamison recalled Sheriff Cox “having his back” during one of his first drug raids with a high risk warrant years ago. Jamison asked Cox to cover him as he handcuffed a dangerous suspect. Later, law enforcement personnel informed Jamison that Sheriff Cox rarely, if ever, carried a gun on his person.
“I looked over and saw a small grin on the sheriff’s face,” Jamison said as the crowd laughed. “Here’s one thing I learned, as the Piqua Chief of Police working with the Miami County Sheriff, it didn’t matter why he did what he did. Once I figured out that he was never looking out just for Charlie Cox. His decisions were what was best for the citizens of Miami County and for Miami County law enforcement.”
Jamison said Cox served with love.
“It doesn’t matter if we are chief or deputy, a drug addict getting clean in the vast Miami County detox facility known as ‘Cox Hotel’ or a homeless veteran needing a meal at the St. Patrick’s Soup Kitchen. Or a citizen or an inmate needing spiritual guidance at a time of need, or a United States president passing through the county on the campaign trail,” Jamison said. “The sheriff knew we all will be leveled to the same rank at death and will return to the same dust of the Earth. Charles Cox was a good mentor and a good man.”
Sheriff Cox’s granddaughters Sara Detrick and Morgen Wright also spoke, remembering their grandfather and his love of both pizza and spoiling his beloved dogs over the years.
Retired Miami County Sheriff Office’s Billie Ray, WHIO’s Steve Baker, Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association Bob Cornwell, Miami County Prosecutor Tony Kendell and Captain Dave Norman also shared stories and memories of Sheriff Cox. Ethel Grayson, a family friend, shared family stories on behalf of Lynn Cox and family, including the time he trimmed a Christmas tree to fit their home — from the top of the tree.
Sheriff Cox was honored by the Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association with a plaque for his service. Deputies participated in the 21-bell salute and retirement of colors before dismissing from the service.
Tipp City, West Milton, Troy and Piqua police departments patrolled the county jurisdiction so all deputies could attend the ceremony on Tuesday.
Pastor Greg Simmons officiated the service and Lt. Tom Wheeler read Cox’s obituary.
Gov. John Kasich ordered all flags throughout Miami County to be lowered at half-staff in Sheriff’s Cox’s honor on Tuesday.
Reach Melanie Yingst at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews