MIAMI COUNTY — The longest-running sheriff in county history, Sheriff Charles Cox made his final patrol around the Miami County Safety Building, where public officials, deputies, and county employees lined the streets to bid the sheriff farewell.
Cox, who served as Miami County Sheriff for seven terms and more than 28 years, died Thursday morning. Cox died at 5:15 a.m. at Hospice of Dayton. Deputies escorted his body through the city of Troy around 10:30 a.m. before heading to Piqua, where arrangements will be handled by Jamieson and Yannucci Funeral Home.
“It is with deep sadness and very heavy hearts that the Miami County Sheriff’s Office announces the passing of seven-term Miami County Sheriff Charles A. Cox,” said Sheriff-elect Chief Deputy Dave Duchak. “The operations of the Miami County Sheriff’s Office continue uninterrupted. The men and women of the Miami County Sheriff’s Office continue to serve and protect their fellow residents as Sheriff Cox would expect. We ask that the public keep Sheriff Cox, his wife Lynn, their family and the Miami County Sheriff’s Office in their prayers.”
Dozens of sheriff cruisers and representatives from local law enforcement agencies participated in a processional Thursday morning accompanying Sheriff Cox’s body past the Miami County Safety Building, where he served as sheriff for nearly three decades.
“He was a cop’s cop. He was loved by all of us, by other officers and other departments. He’d do anything for you as an employee. He loved the county and made a huge difference in the county over seven terms,” Duchak said. “He was sheriff. He was boss and had that respect in that line, but he was also one of the guys. He had a good sense of humor. He believed in us. It’s a huge, huge loss for the county.”
Duchak agreed that Cox’s death only two days after he himself was elected sheriff was not a coincidence.
“He really wanted me to have (the sheriff’s seat). I think he wanted to see it through,” Duchak shared. “He was just concerned about his staff and wanted them to be taken care of. I think he was at peace.”
Miami County Prosecutor Anthony Kendell called Sheriff Cox “a very dear friend.”
“I know he’s left quite a legacy and he’s going to be sorely missed,” Kendell said.
“The Miami County Republican Party sends its thoughts and prayers to the Cox family and friends for their loss,” said Miami County Commissioner John “Bud” O’Brien on Thursday. “The sheriff was a longtime loyal Republican office holder who defended the safety of every citizen of Miami County with dedication, strength, and valor. Now is a time to reflect on his many accomplishments as our sheriff over his 28 years of service to Miami County and pray for his family’s strength while dealing with their loss.”
Commissioners Richard Cultice and Jack Evans expressed their condolences to Cox’s family and friends.
“Charlie will be missed going forward, for sure,” Cultice said.
“I’d echo those sentiments and reassure the residents of the county that the sheriff’s office is still open for business and still doing the job. My thoughts and prayers are with his family,” Evans said.
Sheriff Cox graduated in 1963 from Piqua High School, where he was a three-sport athlete, including All Miami Valley and All-State in basketball, and excelled in baseball. He worked at Hobart Manufacturing in Troy for a short period of time before enlisting in the United States Army. While in the Army, Sheriff Cox served in Korea as a military policeman and obtained the rank of sergeant. He was honorably discharged from the Army in 1968.
Sheriff Cox was the only sheriff of Miami County to be the president of the Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association. He was president in 2006. He served as chairman of the community corrections committee and chaplains committee for the organization. He also served on the legislative committee and awards committee.
Sheriff Cox also was a member of the National Sheriff’s Association and National Jail Association.
Sheriff Cox career highlights
Sheriff Cox was first elected sheriff in 1988 and was re-elected to seven consecutive terms until his pending retirement at the end of this year.
Prior to becoming sheriff, Cox served as a Troy police officer for 13 years before leaving in 1982. He was a private investigator prior to his election in 1988.
In his first term as sheriff, Cox eliminated agents and agents in charge and returned officers to being deputies.
In 1992, Cox was re-elected to a second term that focused on officer education and training.
In 1996, Cox was re-elected to a third term as sheriff. In 1999, the Miami County Incarceration Facility was built on North County Road 25-A in Troy to handle overcrowding at the county jail. Cox was able to secure funds through contracts with other agencies to generate up to $2 million a year for operation costs.
In 2000, Cox was re-elected to a fourth term and added deputies to the road patrol and detectives to the sheriff’s office.
Cox also worked with Clerk of Courts Jan Mottinger to secure funding through the court’s title fund to pay for cruiser upgrades and for roof repairs at the sheriff’s training center so no money had to be used from the county general fund.
In 2004, Sheriff Cox added on to the sheriff’s training center, also using the court title funds.
Sheriff Cox added three court deputies to provide security at the Common Pleas and Juvenile courts. Cox also added two school resource deputies and one school educational resource deputy to assist Miami County schools.
Cox also had contracts with Pleasant Hill, Bethel Township, Elizabeth Township, and the Miami County Park District to provide additional coverage.
Sheriff Cox also helped coordinate the response by Ohio Sheriffs to aid the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama regions following Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Cox scheduled statewide sheriff departures during the aftermath of the hurricane. Seven representatives from the sheriff’s office and one Troy fireman traveled with supplies to help residents in the Gulfport, Miss., area.
Sheriff Cox continued his community outreach with the sheriff’s office’s “Operation Cover-Up.” The coat drive provides underprivileged children with new and used coats each fall.
The office also hosts a day camp for youth to interact with deputies and detectives each summer.
— Cecilia Fox contributed to this story