MALONE — Surrounded by family, friends, public officials and politicians, Jack Pelkey took the oath of office Monday as Franklin County's new sheriff.
A crowd packed into the county courtroom as County Judge Robert G. Main Jr. administered the oath to Pelkey.
Pelkey sealed the oath by hugging and kissing his wife, Judy.
His new undersheriff, Pete LaMere of Tupper Lake, was also sworn in. LaMere was a fraud investigator with the county's Department of Social Services.
Pelkey thanked all the people for their support.
"I will do the best of my ability to do a good job," he told them.
In the back of the courtroom sat Mel Nemier, who held the sheriff's post for the past 15 years, but was defeated by Pelkey in the Republican primary.
For Nemier, it was the first day in a long time that he didn't have to go to work on Monday morning.
Seated next to him was another long-time sheriff, Percy Lyons, who had held the post before Nemier.
People waited in line to offer congratulations and best wishes to Pelkey, who was feted at a luncheon reception following the ceremony.
Pelkey was heartened by the support shown by the big crowd at the ceremony and said he was "ready to go to work."
"Basically, I want to see how the operation is run. There aren't going to be any drastic changes at first."
He will be looking at streamlining the operation and checking scheduling to cut down on overtime costs,
"As I mentioned in my campaign, I'll be looking at (re-instituting) the DARE program. And coming up this summer, I'll be looking at reactivating the boat patrols, if the taxpayers want it."
Both programs were cut in years past by legislators to save money.
Pelkey was a member of the State Police and in charge of the Malone Bureau of Criminal Investigation. He retired in October 1997 after 25 years.