James Metts left his mark on Lexington County through celebration and chagrin during nearly 42 years as sheriff.
He was known for bluster, bear hugs, handshakes and smiles in becoming a force in local politics until his indictment June 17 on federal corruption charges.
Metts thrived amid brawling with state and and county political leaders, staring down offenders pointing guns at him, shrugging off have a knife pressed to his throat and becoming a crime victim after an unsolved break-in at his home in 2011.
He modernized what deputies did, taking over a force in 1972 where officers wore jeans and kept notes on envelopes and reshaped it into a nationally accredited law enforcement agency.
Metts, 68 and the state’s longest-serving sitting sheriff when he was suspended in June, gave up “a job that was the love of his life” to battle the charges, his lawyer Sherri Lydon said.
Some high and low points of his tenure include: