Orange County got a new sheriff early Wednesday morning. Lane Mooney received his oath of office from Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Rodney Price shortly after midnight. The ceremony was performed in front of the Sheriff’s Office building at the Courthouse complex in the City of Orange.
Mooney has served in the Sheriff’s Office previously in the Patrol Division and recently was the Constable for Precinct 4 in the Vidor area. The new sheriff said he is ready to serve all the people of Orange County. “I have a great vision for Orange County and the Sheriff’s Department and the safety of the citizens, and we’re going to do just that. We’re going to make sure the citizens are taken care of,” Mooney promised.
During his thanks to those attending for his being elected as the Sheriff of Orange County, Mooney said he would be receptive to anyone calling upon the Sheriff’s Office for help. “I love Orange County and I look forward to serving you as your next Sheriff of Orange County,” Mooney pledged. “I’ll always have an open door, my phone is always on, and my door is open, so if you ever need anything from me or this office make sure you give me a call.”
Mooney replaces Keith Merritt who resigned in June with six months remaining on his term as sheriff after serving over 11 years in that position. Mooney actually won the Republican Primary in March and would have taken office in January since he has no opponent in the general election.
The administration in the Sheriff’s Office will be changing. Sheriff Mooney revealed Keith Reneau who previously was over Mooney as his patrol sergeant with the Sheriff’s Office will now serve under him as his Chief Deputy. Reneau has been serving as a lieutenant with the Pinehurst Police Department.
Other division captains will include Chris Frederick over Patrol, Frank Carpenter over the Service Division, and Jim Eiselstein will continue to be over the Jail Division.
Joining Mooney in the midnight swearing in was his replacement Matt Ortego as the Constable of Precinct 4. He was appointed the Constable the same day as Mooney was appointed Sheriff on June 23.
Ortego ran unopposed in the Republican Primary and would have taken office in January had Mooney not resigned as the Constable to take the job of Sheriff. Ortego announced Kevin Norton will be his chief deputy in the Constable Precinct 4 office.
Despite the midnight hour of the event there were 75 to 100 people who attended the ceremony.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-